Five Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) journalists, who are being sued by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere alongside their publisher in a $7 million defamation lawsuit, have entered an appearance to defend notice.
Source: Zimpapers to defend Kasukuwere’s $7m claim – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016
BY CHARLES LAITON
The journalists and their employer will challenge the Zanu PF political commissar, when the matter is set down for hearing.
Kasukuwere filed the claim last month, accusing Zimpapers and its reporters of being appendages of those who were behind the so-called Blue Ocean Strategy allegedly penned by war veterans with a view to mapping a plan to dismantle G40, a faction said to be in a protracted battle against Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction.
In his summons, Kasukuwere said The Sunday Mail and The Herald had on various occasions written articles titled Spotlight on Housing Allocation Graft, President Grills Kasukuwere and Stands Saga Turns Nasty, which were defamatory and aimed at ending his political career.
“And in relation to what has become known as the Blue Ocean Strategy, the various defamatory articles against the plaintiff (Kasukuwere) are intended by the defendants (Felix Share, Tendai Mugabe, Praise Bvumbamera, Caesar Zvayi, Mabasa Sasa and Zimpapers) to have the following effect: In relation to succession politics within Zanu PF, to advance the political fortunes of the beneficiaries of the Blue Ocean Strategy to which the defendants are an appendage,” Kasukuwere said in his declaration.
“As a result of the defamatory articles, plaintiff, who is a Cabinet minister, a Member of Parliament for Mount Darwin South and a respected political commissar in Zanu PF, has been damaged in his reputation and has suffered damages in the sum of $7 million.”
Kasukuwere further said his claim was based on the fact that all the publicised articles he referred to in his lawsuit were false and misleading and that the reporters and Zimpapers “openly intend the defamatory article to convey the innuendo that the political fortunes of the plaintiff (Kasukuwere) are threatened by imminent demise”.
He further said the articles claimed he “irregularly allocated land to political bigwigs, in particular to firms linked to Betty Kaseke, Sarah Mahoka, Innocent Hamandishe and Shadreck Mashayamombe”, and that he also “unprocedurally offered land reserved for youths to Walter Magaya’s company, Planet Africa”, with whom he has “an improper relationship”.
Regarding The Herald article of September 8, 2016, headlined President grills Kasukuwere, the former Environment minister said the piece was defamatory, false and misleading with allegations that he was taken to task by President Robert Mugabe for selling land in Shawasha B, Norton and Harare South earmarked for youths’ housing to Magaya and political bigwigs.
The matter is pending.