Information Minister Dora Siliya has confirmed that former Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti has been handed back to the Zimbabwean authorities.
And Siliya said the court order restraining Zambian authorities handing over Biti to the Zimbabwean authorities was served after the former Finance Minister had already been surrendered.
Biti had been detained at the Chirundu Border Post after attempting to seek asylum in Zambia following an arrest warrant issued by the Zimbabwean authorities.
Siliya said that Biti’s request did not meet conditions for asylum as there was no breakdown of law and order in Zimbabwe in the aftermath of elections that saw the ZANU-PF’s Emerson Mnangagwa declared winner.
“Mr Tendai Biti presented himself to the Zambian authorities at the border in Chirundu and unlike any other Zimbabwean entering Zambia, he presented himself seeking asylum. He was held at the border following consultations with government and after the conclusion of consultations particularly with the Ministry of Home Affairs it was deduced that he did not qualify for asylum,” Siliya said.
“One can only seek asylum if their country of origin is under massive violence and there is total breakdown of law and order and indeed the lives of citizens there are threatened. In this case, it was concluded that did not apply to Mr Tendai Biti and has been handed back to the Zimbabwean authorities and not deported because he was not in Zambia illegally, he had been denied entry into Zambia. He was being held at the border pending consultations.”
Siliya added: “In this case he was just handed back to the Zimbabwean authorities.”
She said, “On the matter he managed to get the court order, consultations with the office of the Attorney General show that he had already been handed back to the Zimbabwean authorities when this court order was apparently handed.”