MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti has filed a Z$15 million counter-lawsuit against a Russian woman who accused him of assault after calling her a “very stupid idiot,” leading to his arrest last month.
The opposition lawmaker is suing Tatiana Aleshina – a Russian national with business interests in Zimbabwe – jointly with CID Law and Order officers, Detective Garauzive, Detective Chief Inspector Chibaya, and Constable Sydney Ndlovu.
He accuses the detectives of wrongful detention over “a matter or case where even if convicted, the plaintiff would not be subjected to a prison term because of the frivolity of the charge,” Biti says in his founding affidavit now before the High Court.
His counter-claim comes days after he was sued for Z$1 million by Aleshina, accusing the politician and his party of insulting her and defaming Augur Investments – a company she has interests in – after tweeting that it was corrupt.
“On or around November 30, 2020, the first defendant (Aleshina) made false, wrong and a malicious report to ZRP alleging that the plaintiff had assaulted her by uttering that ‘You Tatiana you are stupid, very stupid, stupid idiot,'” Biti argues through his lawyer Alec Muchadehama.
“Notwithstanding the fact that the complaint, even if true (a point heavily contested) was trivial, frivolous and at most a criminal nuisance, the first defendant appointed second defendant as an IO in the matter.”
He wants damages broken down as follows; Z$5 million for contumelia and injury to his feelings and dignity; Z$5 million as constitutional damages for wrongful deprivation of liberty and torture, cruel and degrading treatment, and another Z$5 million in damages for wrongful and malicious actions by officers.
Biti also accuses detectives of trying to raid his law firm and harassing his mother. He argues the matter between him and Aleshina is a “trivial” affair that should not have involved the CID Law and Order.
He also complained about his detention in police cells saying conditions exposed him to Covid-19 as there was no running water, sanitizers, masks, or gloves.
“The conditions of Harare Central Police custody are particularly demeaning and in any event amount to torture cruel and degrading treatment. There was overcrowding and lack of social distancing with over 52 inmates detained in that particular night,” he says, adding this dented his social standing.
The matter is yet to be heard.