Tendai Biti, vice president of Zimbabwe’s Citizens Coalition for Change opposition party, stands accused of assaulting a businesswoman in 2020.
In testimony during the resumption of Biti’s trial on Friday, Michael Van Blerk – a former manager at Pokugara Properties where complainant Tatiana Aleshina works – claimed that “Biti jumped at Aleshina at the Harare Magistrates Court threatening to physically harm her.”
The alleged incident occurred in December 2020 after Aleshina attended a court case of one of her employees. Van Blerk said he had to intervene and rescue Aleshina as Biti charged toward her, shouting 0bscenities. He made these statements while being cross-examined by Biti’s lawyer.
Aleshina previously testified that she was admitted to Borrowdale Trauma Centre in sh0ck after the incident, telling the court she “froze” when Biti charged at her threatening to attack her. It was her first experience with such disorderly behavior, she said.
After the alleged incident, Aleshina said she felt confused and wandered around the courthouse for minutes looking for an exit, as Biti’s behavior was unexpected of a prominent lawyer.
Prosecutor Michael Reza led evidence from Aleshina, who claims Biti charged toward her threatening to physically attack her.
Biti, a high-profile lawyer and opposition leader, has pleaded not guilty to the assault charge. The trial is ongoing.