Zimbabwe ends MDC treason case

Charges against top opposition leader dropped ahead of unity government formation.

    Biti (in red) was accused of seeking to
    topple President Mugabe [File: AFP]

    "The magistrate refused to remand Biti, and accepted our argument that the state had broken its own undertakings to the court to proceed to facilitate a speedy trial," Lewis Uriri, Biti's lawyer, said.

    Biti was charged with seeking to oust Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwe president, unconstitutionally by saying Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, had won a March 2008 poll against Mugabe outright.

    Biti, who led the MDC's team in negotiating a unity government with Mugabe's Zanu-PF, says the charges were trumped up.

    Unity government

    The court reprieve for Biti is likely to ease tensions between Zanu-PF and the MDC after months of political unrest which has contributed to the country's continued economic dilapidation.

    On Thursday, the parliament passed a constitutional bill to allow the establishment of a coalition government under a power sharing deal signed in September.

    The MDC agreed to join the unity government last week, a move previously held up by arguments over the division of power in government.

    Zanu-PF and the MDC have been jostling to finalise the unity government since last year's disputed run-off vote, which Tsvangirai boycotted due to citied violence against his supporters.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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