The High Court has dismissed an application by Alpha Media Holdings Pvt Ltd (AMH) seeking to stop a US$1 million defamation lawsuit filed by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Justice Nicholas Mathonsi dismissed the exception by AMH and Dumisani Muleya through their lawyer, Advocate Eric Moriss seeking to stop civil action lodged by Minister Mnangagwa over an article published by the weekly paper, the Zimbabwe Independent on the 11th of May last year under the title ‘Mnangagwa Ready To Rule.’
The article reads in pertinent part ‘Defence Minister Mnangagwa has for the first time openly declared his interest in taking over from President Robert Mugabe as the leader of Zanu PF and the country, in remarks showing the succession battle in the party is intensifying.’
The writer further quoted the former Defence Minister Mnangagwa as saying “I am ready to rule if selected to do so. Zanu PF is about observing the will of the people and I will respect the people’s wishes if they chose.”
Minister Mnangagwa through his lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri successfully argued that the article was false and Dumisani Muleya neither spoke to him nor did he [Mnangagwa] ever spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent and added that the article was defamatory as it damaged his standing and reputation to the tune of US$1 million.
Justice Mathonsi however castigated lawyers for coming up with outlandish figures and outrageous claims, saying failure by the lawyers to advise their clients on reasonable figures shows the height of irresponsibility.