LOCAL government minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s $20 million damages claim against Norton MP Temba Mliswa yesterday failed to take off at the High Court after the matter was struck off the roll due to the non-attendance for a pre-trial conference by both parties.
Source: Kasukuwere’s $20m gay suit against Mliswa struck off roll – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 18, 2016
BY CHARLES LAITON
Kasukuwere’s lawyer Jonathan Samukange confirmed the matter, which was set to be heard before Justice David Mangota, had been struck off the roll, adding any interested party would have to approach the Registrar to have the matter re-set for hearing.
“The matter was struck off the roll and the party interested in pursuing the matter will approach the court and have it set down for hearing,” Samukange said.
The Zanu PF national commissar filed the claim sometime in 2014 when he was Environment minister and when Mliswa was still MP for Hurungwe West.
According to the court papers, Kasukuwere’s claim emanated from utterances allegedly made by Mliswa when he held a press conference in the capital where he reportedly attacked cabinet ministers, among them Kasukuwere, describing them as “gay gangsters”.
In his declaration, Kasukuwere said: “Defendant (Mliswa) caused to be published defamatory statements in respect of the plaintiff (Kasukuwere) and others, describing the plaintiff as a ‘gay gangster.’”
He added: “On Tuesday September 30, 2014, an article appeared on the front page of the Zimbabwe Mail (now defunct) headlined ‘Zanu PF hijacked by gay gangsters’… a similar article appeared on the front page of NewsDay of September 30, 2014 and also The Daily News of September 30, 2014, which states ‘Gays hijack Zanu PF’ with the defendant’s picture giving a press statement where he defamed the plaintiff.”
In his response to the claim, Mliswa filed an exception to the summon, arguing it did not disclose any cause of action.
“The summons does not disclose any cause of action. It does not allege or specify the delict committed and how the defamation arose. It does not allege any publication to whom and the dates thereof,” Mliswa said.
The Norton MP further said Kasukuwere’s declaration did not allege how the words “gay gangster” were understood by the public and whether or not they conveyed any meaning that was defamatory to Kasukuwere.
“The plaintiff must identify the words that defendant uttered and plead the same. He must point out the nature of the defamatory words, how the words were understood or were intended to be understood by ordinary readers. In addition, he must allege that the words complained of are and carry a meaning that defames the same,” Mliswa said.