As the Green Party, we demand immediate release of detained Zimbabwean opposition MDC Alliance leader Tendai Biti. We believe the arrest and detention are totally unwarranted.
We also demand that Government grants him political asylum because circumstances surrounding his persecution in Zimbabwe are discriminatory and mere witch-hunt.
Additionally, we believe that such action by Government is an embarrassment in the eyes of the international community and only goes to prove incoherence of the Zambian Government on foreign policy. We are aware that Government has in the past protected and even granted asylum to aliens suspected to have committed serious crimes in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere in the world.
To start with, Government has not categorically stated whether the MDC Alliance leader Tendai Biti entered Zambia legally or illegally. To us, this is a very serious omission because Government has no right to arrest and detain people arbitrarily, whether such people aliens or not.
If Biti entered Zambia illegally, then that is one thing. Government security agencies have a duty to arrest, detain and deport illegal immigrants as no alien has a right to enter the country unless such a person does so under special circumstances as outlined in various international laws to which Zambia is a signatory.
But if Biti entered Zambia legally, then that is another ball game altogether. The Zambian Government is bound to respect international law.
As the Green Party, we have followed closely events in Zimbabwe before, during and after the election held last week.
We are aware that President-Elect Emerson Mnangagwa, MDC Alliance Presidential Candidate Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti made public statements last week during the counting and verification process of ballots, which statements were reported in various media outlets. We followed closely commentaries on the statements, which we have kept for record, and we are convinced beyond reasoble doubt that the three statements bordered on breach of the electoral laws of Zimbabwe.
We are also aware that up to date, neither Mnangagwa nor Chamisa are being pursued by Government security agencies for the said public statements. Under the circumstances, it is our considered view that pursuing Biti leaving Mnangagwa and Chamisa is application of double standards. In our view, this is not only a witch-hunt but also biased application of law.
In this regard, it is our considered view as the Green Party that the Zambian Government should not be part and parcel of such witch-hunt and biased application of law.
We think that Biti has a meritorious case to run away from Zimbabwe as he is being pursued in a discriminatory and unfair manner.
We think that the Zambian Government is under international law to protect him and grant him political asylum.
And finally, we think that he is not a danger to the Zambian society. We think that by any standard, Biti is far much better as asylum seeker than some of the criminals that Government of the Republic of Zambia has protected under the auspices of international law.