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Zim opposition leaders targeted for assassination, claims Tendai Biti

Harare — Former Zimbabwe finance minister and senior opposition official Tendai Biti has claimed there is a government plot to assassinate him and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

A day after Zimbabwe’s general elections held on Monday, Biti — who won the Harare East parliamentary seat on an MDC Alliance ticket — said party leader Chamisa had won the presidential poll and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was deliberately delaying announcing the official results.

Biti said former army commander and current vice-president Constantino Chiwenga was behind the assassination plot.

He said there said it was a “fact” that he and Chamisa are on a hit list, but said the source of the information was confidential.

“We have also received very confidential reports that General Chiwenga has issued an order for the assassination of President Nelson Chamisa and myself. We don’t accept that,” Biti said.

“We know that it is in these periods of delay and uncertainty that merchants of chaos, that bishops of electoral fraud will do their own things. So, we are calling upon ZEC to immediately comply with the law and start making formal declarations at constituencies as is required by the law.”

Biti said information delivered by MDC polling agents who were deployed at different polling stations indicates that Chamisa had won. Chamisa is running against President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the incumbent and candidate for the ruling Zanu-PF.

By law, the ZEC has five days following the conclusion of the vote to announce the results. On Tuesday afternoon, the ZEC announced results from seven constituencies — six of which were won by Zanu-PF.

Home affairs minister Obert Mpofu convened a press conference after Biti had issued his statement, and said those who announce themselves winners risk being jailed.

He said if there are any assassination threats, the MDC leaders should report the matter to the police.

“The government of Zimbabwe is equally perturbed with the high level of incitement to violence being perpetrated by certain individuals and some political party leaders who have declared themselves winners even before the announcement of results,” he said.

“The same political leaders have gone further to insinuate that they already have the results of the election and will not accept anything to the contrary. Such mischievous actions have the capacity to cause alarm and despondency in our beloved country and leaves the police with no option but to investigate and arrest if there is any breach of the law.”

He said police and other security institutions will remain on high alert across the country.

The minister said police will arrest anyone found on the wrong side of the law without fear or favour, irrespective of their political stature.

He appealed to Zimbabweans to accept the poll outcome and remain peaceful “Ladies and gentlemen, I am sure no one wants to provoke the law and be sent to jail,” he said.

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Kudzai Mashininga
Kudzai Mashininga

Mashininga is an experienced Zimbabwean journalist.

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