Tendai Biti MDC 100 Greatest Zimbabweans

Tendai Laxton Biti (born 6 August 1966) is a Zimbabwean politician. He is the Secretary-General of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-Tsvangirai) political party and a member of Parliament for Harare East; currently he is the Minister of Finance of Zimbabwe.

Biti was born in Dzivarasekwa, Harare. From 1980 to 1985 he attended Goromonzi High School, where he was appointed deputy head boy in 1985. He enrolled in the University of Zimbabwe law school as a freshman in 1986. In 1988 and 1989, as Secretary General of the Student Union, Biti led student protests against government censorship in academia. After school, he joined the Law firm Honey and Blackenberg, where he became the youngest partner by the age of 26.

Political career
In 1999 he helped found the MDC. He was elected Member of Parliament for the Harare East constituency in 2000. During the Fifth Parliament he served as a member of the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water Development, Rural Resources and Resettlement and that on Defence and Home Affairs. In March 2005 he retained the constituency. He serves in the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development and is currently the MDC's Secretary General. In his legal career Biti has handled labour and human rights litigation representing large trade unions such as the Post and Telecommunications Trade Union.

He was arrested in 2007 with many others, including MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, after a prayer rally in the Harare township of Highfield.

On June 16, 2007, Biti and Welshman Ncube met with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labor Minister Nicholas Goche, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African President Thabo Mbeki, appointed by the Southern African Development Community, presided over the negotiations which sought to end economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.[1]

2008 elections
Biti was re-elected to the House of Assembly from Harare East in the March 2008 parliamentary election. According to official results, he received 8,377 votes against 2,587 for the ZANU-PF candidate.[2] In the period following the election, he stayed outside of Zimbabwe (mainly in South Africa), along with Tsvangirai, amidst a post-electoral situation that the MDC alleges is marked by serious violence against MDC supporters.

Biti returned to Zimbabwe on June 12, 2008 and was immediately arrested at the airport in Harare. Before his departure from Johannesburg, Biti said that he had already learned that he would be arrested, but maintained that his only crime was "fighting for democracy" and said that it was necessary for him to return to participate in the MDC's struggle.[4] Following Biti's arrest, police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said that he would be charged with treason, based on an MDC document about changing the government.[5] This document, which was called "The Transition Strategy" and was said to have been written by Biti on March 25,[6] included purported plans to rig the election in favor of the MDC.[6][7] Bvudzijena said that Biti would additionally be charged with making false statements "prejudicial to the state" due to his announcement of election results prior to their release by the Electoral Commission.[5][6] United States Ambassador James McGee expressed deep concern on behalf of the US government, saying that the document in question was an unobjectionable statement of the MDC's plans and goals; according to McGee, another, more extreme version of the document existed, but it was forged.[5] Biti's lawyer also claimed that the material in question was forged.[8]

On June 13, Biti's lawyers said that they had not been allowed to meet with him, and they filed an urgent application with the High Court on the same day. The MDC said that it was "deeply worried" about Biti's welfare and that it had sent a team to police stations across Harare, hoping to determine where he was being held.[9] He appeared in court on June 14.[10]

Biti's home was searched by the police on June 16, although the police did not take anything out of the home.[7][11] His lawyer, Lewis Uriri, said that Biti had been interrogated for a full 24 hours after his arrest; Uriri also said that he would seek an order from the High Court to release Biti on the grounds that he had been held without charge for more than the allowed 48-hour period.[7]

Biti again appeared in court on June 18; however, this hearing was postponed to the next day because the power failed, meaning that the hearing could not be recorded.[12] He was charged on June 19.[6][8] He faced four charges: "treason, communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the State, insulting President Mugabe and causing disaffection among the defence forces"..[6] Prosecutors argued against granting bail to Biti, noting that the charges against him were so serious that he could be executed. The defense submitted an application to have the charges thrown out, but on June 20 magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe dismissed this application, saying that he believed there was "reasonable suspicion that the accused committed the said offence". Biti's next court appearance was set for July 7, and Guvamombe ordered that he remain in custody until then.[8]

On June 26, Biti was granted bail at one trillion Zimbabwean dollars; he was also required to surrender his home's title deeds and to report to the police on a weekly basis.[13] Biti's lawyers later filed a petition asking for the return of his passport so that he could attend talks between the parties in South Africa, and as a result his passport was returned to him on July 9, enabling him to go. He led the MDC-Tsvangirai delegation to the talks, which began in Pretoria on July 10, although according to Tsvangirai the purpose of this was only to set the MDC-Tsvangirai's conditions for participating in the talks, not to actually participate in them.[14][15]

Uriri applied for the removal of Biti's remand on the grounds that a trial date should have been set and the police investigation should have been completed. On August 27, 2008, Chioniso Mutongi, a magistrate in Harare, rejected this request, saying that Biti had not been on remand long enough for its removal to be appropriate

Appointment to Government of National Unity
On 10 February 2009, MDC leader and Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai announced the appointment of Biti as Finance Minister in the Government of National Unity. Though he has no known history in financial and economic matters, analysts suggest that Tsavingarai really had no other option considering Biti's position in the MDC. In addition, he is known to drive a hard bargain and could be the best person to deal with the Zanu-PF controlled public service. He was sworn in alongside other Ministers on February 13, 2009 in Harare.

(C) wikipedia

Champion Swimmer Charlene Wittstock 100 Greatest Zimbabweans

ZIMBABWE-BORN champion swimmer Charlene Wittstock is officially engaged to Prince Albert II of Monaco, long one of Europe's most eligible bachelors, it was announced on Wednesday.

A brief statement from the palace in the 52-year-old's tiny Mediterranean statelet confirmed the engagement, but did not put a date on the eventual wedding, which courtiers will be hoping might produce a legitimate heir.

Prince Albert is the son of deceased Prince Rainier III and the late Hollywood actress Grace Kelly and has ruled Monaco, where he is broadly well-liked by his 8,000 subjects, since succeeding his father in July 2005.

Wittstock, who was born in Bulawayo on January 25, 1978, but competed for South Africa in swimming, is 20 years Albert's junior and a school teacher.

She is also a former Commonwealth 100 metres backstroke champion who has appeared on the prince's arm at several society events in Monaco, a Riviera millionaire's playground.

She also competed for South Africa in the Olympics in Sydney 2000, and won three golds in the 2002 swimming World Cup.

Prince Albert is a fellow Olympian, having competed in five Olympic games as a member of his country's bobsleigh team.

Wittstock was first spotted with the prince in 2001 at an event in Monte Carlo and was subsequently his guest at high profile events such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix in the principality and the opening of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Her profile rose further when she was picked for a swimwear photo shoot by Sports Illustrated, but she has complained in the South African press of media intrusion into her private life.

With a fortune estimated at some two billion euros (US$2.4 billion), Albert has been seen with a string of beautiful women over the years.

He has managed to keep his love-life largely out of the public view -- in contrast with his sisters Caroline and Stephanie whose stormy affairs have been a constant source of celebrity gossip.

Albert has fathered two children, a girl and a boy who were officially recognised after he had acceded to the throne, but neither can succeed him as Monaco's constitution requires its rulers to be born in wedlock.

The children are Jazmin Grace, 20, whose mother Tamara Rotolo is a former American waitress and Alexandre Coste, 6, from a French-Togolese former flight attendant, Nicole Coste.

Albert's failure to marry and have legitimate children had resulted in a 2002 change to Monaco's constitution, under which the 700-year-old Grimaldi dynasty can continue through the female line if he dies without an heir.

Monaco, a super-rich enclave on the Riviera coast entirely surrounded on its landward side by France, covers only 200 hectares (494 acres). It is home to 32,000 permanent residents, only 8,000 of them citizens.

Low tax rates, a luxury yachting marina and a famed casino have attracted many wealthy expatriates, and around 36,000 mainly-French non-residents arrive every day to work in its tourism and financial services businesses.

Albert rules as head of state, supported by a senior French civil servant and a government of four senior advisers.

Published On: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 9:50 PM GMT
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