Senior Zimbabwean opposition figure Tendai Biti was arrested as he tried to flee to neighbouring Zambia to seek asylum, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
Biti allegedly faces charges for inciting violence over the disputed result of last week’s elections.
“He was arrested at the Zambian border,” Biti’s lawyer Nqobizitha Mlilo told AFP, adding by text message that he was trying to seek asylum.
As yet‚ there is no confirmation of the arrest‚ nor its basis‚ by the Zimbabwean police.
Police documents supplied by Mlilo‚ however‚ suggest that authorities were investigating Biti for “unofficially and unlawfully” declaring MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa the duly elected president of Zimbabwe‚ in alleged violation of Zimbabwean electoral law.
He also stands accused of public violence for “acting in consent with his accomplices still at large while armed with firearms‚ ammunition‚ stones‚ alleged to have committed act of violence and proceeded to burn various vehicles and one bus at the ZANU-PF provincial headquarters”.
In other words‚ Zimbabwean police appear to be blaming Biti for the violence that flared up in Zimbabwe after the country’s disputed election results were announced and ZANU PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa was named as president.
Mnangagwa will be inaugurated this weekend.
Earlier this week‚ Mlilo told TimesLIVE that Biti was “in hiding”‚ but that he had been assured that he was not wanted by the police.
BREAKING: Lawyer of Zimbabwean opposition politician #TendaiBiti says Biti has been arrested by Zim police at Zim border with Zambia -where he was seeking political asylum.
Document tweeted seems to indicate what he stands accused of: declaring Chamisa President, public violence pic.twitter.com/v1ZI1c35sH
— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) August 8, 2018
Biti’s attempt to seek political asylum in Zambia came after an alleged attempt on his life on Monday‚ during which Mlilo says a gunman in an unmarked silver Mercedes Benz opened fire on Biti’s car.
That incident occurred after the home of Biti’s elderly mother was repeatedly surrounded by unknown men‚ and his younger brother was allegedly abducted after dropping his wife and children at an undisclosed location.