Former Zimbabwean ambassador to Australia wins $180,000

via Former Zimbabwean ambassador to Australia wins $180,000 in defamation case against journalist in ACT – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) July 10, 2015 by Elizabeth Byrne

The former Zimbabwean ambassador to Australia has won $180,000 in a defamation case in Canberra against a journalist who published damaging allegations about her.

The journalist, Reason Wafawarova, has been ordered to pay Jacqueline Zwambila $160,000 in general damages and $20,000 in aggravated damages after he falsely claimed she had lost her temper and stripped to her underwear in front of three embassy officials.

The article suggested she was angry when the three denied leaking information to The Herald newspaper in Harare.

Ms Zwambila said the claims were not true but did irreparable damage to her reputation when they were published in newspapers in 2010 in her home country including The Herald.

The action was brought in the ACT, where Ms Zwambila was based at the time the story was published.

She told the ACT Supreme Court she was recalled to Harare to explain and feared losing her post as ambassador.

“The alleged statements of fact about my conduct in the article were not only untrue, but particularly hurtful because in over 13 years of working in politics, I had diligently worked to gain respect and the reputation of being worthy of the position of my country’s ambassador,” Ms Zwambila said.

“My initial reaction to the article was one of deep upset, surprise and distress.

“The assertion that I was capable of stripping naked in front of my colleagues in anger was abhorrent to me, not only because the allegations were shocking, but also because such allegations have particular cultural significance in Zimbabwe.”

Ms Zwambila, whose term as ambassador ended in December 2013, is now seeking asylum in Australia.

Wafawarova told the court he could not properly defend the case because the Zimbabwean government would not give permission for staff to give evidence about the incident.

But Justice Hilary Penfold rejected that and found he had not only defamed Ms Zwambila, but had aggravated the situation by not apologising.

“I am satisfied that the defamatory article would have damaged the plaintiff’s reputation among many members of the Zimbabwean community who read the article but who had no personal knowledge of the plaintiff,” Justice Penfold said.

“For some people the damage to reputation would have related to the plaintiff’s alleged failure to conduct herself properly in her workplace and for others it might have related to their doubts about the plaintiff’s sexual and other morality.”

Wafawarova has also been ordered to pay a large proportion of the court costs.


  • comment-avatar

    Oh, it is WONDERFUL to see friend Treason get his come-uppance! Made my day. He is an extremely nasty piece of work. Unfortunately the attempt to get him deported from Oz failed though he is a known Zanoid and was in charge of Green Bomber training.

    Sweat, Treason, sweat, Where are you going to get $180k? LOL

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    Yayano 7 years ago

    Let’s see if his paymasters in Harare will help him pay this money. Hope he belongs to the right faction.

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    Didn’t Zwimbile apply for asylum in Oz? It is not often that an Ambassador applies for asylum, but she needed it.

    I hope Zanooo leave Treason out to dry. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving person! I wonder if he still has his poisonous blog? And if he still writes idiotic and vitriolic semi-literate articles for The Herald?

    This news has definitely made my week

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    ananian 7 years ago

    Wafawarova did all this to please one person. MUGABE, MUGABE is a bad evil person, he has cause many people to do things so inhuman just to please him

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    Morris 7 years ago

    I must say he must have used half his capacity to think to do what he did in a country where the is rule of law.

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    He was amazing, vigorously spouting racism and hate-speech in a country that promotes the opposite.

    Also frantically defending dictatorship – from a democracy.

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    Kevin 7 years ago

    Where the law applies fools like Treason will continue to fall foul of the law. This is the standard of Zimbabwean journalism in The Herald, and one of the reasons that no one with half a brain cell will invest in Zimbabwe. There is no rule of law!

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    kwekwe326 7 years ago

    The irony is that Treason wasn’t behind the article in the first place. It was put together by a home-based hack, Tendai Mugabe, and Treason’s name added at the top to make it look like the story came from Sydney where he is based, instead of Harare, where the story was concocted. Come the trial and they hung him out to dry.

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    Will I am Tell 7 years ago

    Kick his monkey arse out of Australia …