Mandiwanzira sues Daily News

Source: Mandiwanzira sues Daily News – DailyNews Live 13 January 2017

Tendai Kamhungira

HARARE – Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister, Supa
Mandiwanzira, has filed two lawsuits totalling a staggering $9 million
against Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) – publishers of the Daily
News, the Daily News on Sunday and the Weekend Post.

The lawsuits relate to two articles which appeared in ANZ’s flagship
daily, the Daily News, last year.

Curiously, both of Mandiwanzira’s legal actions only came in the past
fortnight, eight months after the Daily News published the news articles.

An ANZ spokesperson said that the company looked forward to meeting the
minister in court in both cases, adding that it was his right to approach
the bench.

In his latest lawsuit, in which Mandiwanzira cites MDC legislator for
Mabvuku-Tafara James Maridadi as the first respondent, and ANZ and its
Group Editor Stanley Gama as second and third respondents, the ZiFM owner
– who is a former journalist who has enjoyed a meteoric rise in both
business and politics – is demanding $2 million in damages.

This follows the publication of an opinion piece by Maridadi in the Daily
News in July 2016 titled “A chip off the old block”, which referred to
widely-circulating allegations at the time that Mandiwanzira had been
bought a $200 000 car by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory
Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).

In his court application, Mandiwanzira said the impression created by the
opinion piece was that he abused his position as a minister for his own
personal gain.

He also claimed that the opinion had damaged his reputation in terms of
his suitability to be a parliamentarian and a Cabinet minister, without
saying what the claimed suitability entailed.

“The plaintiff has been subjected to great embarrassment by the article
and it was the duty of 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants (Maridadi, ANZ and
Gama) to verify the truth of the information before causing the

“As a result of the defamatory statements … the plaintiff has been
damaged in his reputation and suffered damages in the amount of $2
million,” Mandiwanzira said.

There was no indication that Mandiwanzira had taken similar action against
all the media houses that had reported on the controversy.

In the other lawsuit, Mandiwanzira also included ANZ as a respondent in a
case in which he is seeking a whopping $7 million in damages.

The lawsuit is based on an article which was published in the Daily News
in May last year, in which former NetOne chief executive officer, Reward
Kangai, complained about the minister and was reported to have appealed to
President Robert Mugabe for help.

“The article was not only untrue in many aspects, but highly defamatory
and was so published with the express motive of casting aspersions on the
character of the plaintiff, lowering him in the estimation of ordinary
reasonable persons with the newspaper’s readership and exposed him to
public ridicule and contempt, both in his professional capacity as a
government minister and a renowned broadcaster and a politician,”
Mandiwanzira’s lawyers claimed.