Zimbabwe: ‘Dismiss Biti’s Defamation Plea’

Court Correspondent

Augur Investments has applied for the dismissal of Tendai Biti and MDC Alliance’s plea to have the court stop them from paying the company US$1 million defamatory damages.

The demand comes after the MDC Alliance and Biti reportedly defamed the company on social media.

Biti and the MDC Alliance have both been cited as the first and second respondents respectively and are alleged to have posted defamatory messages on their official Twitter handles.

In summons filed before the High Court, the applicants are Augur Investments, Ken Sharpe and Tatiana Aleshina who are the first, second and third plaintiffs in that order.

They allege that Biti, who is the MDC Alliance vice president, and his party scandalised their good standing over Harare Airport Road tender through tweets. They are seeking for an order for the removal of the tweets posted on December 4 and 13 and on later dates in which Biti tried to implicate them of wrongdoing in the Harare Airport Road project and for Biti and MDC Alliance to issue a retraction and apology in three newspapers.

Augur argued that the tweets portrayed them in bad light as they alleged that they were involved in fraudulent transactions and stole land from the City of Harare.

It is now seeking for Biti’s special plea in bar thrown out as the company argued that Biti and MDC Alliance have a case to answer.

“Having made such tweets attributed to him and not disputed, the first defendant cannot hope to convince the court that nevertheless the first plaintiff lacks assets or other forms of security,” said Augur.

“The first defendant bent to ward off the action and not proceed to the merits of the matter, has not taken up the offer and arranged for assessment of such costs. As the matter stands, first defendant has put the cart before the horse which demonstrates its bad faith. For those reasons, the court is urged to exercise its discretion in dismissing the special plea for want of merit.”

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