CHIVI South legislator Killer Zivhu (Zanu PF) has taken his Norton counterpart Temba Mliswa (independent) to court for defamation and is seeking $1 million compensation after the latter allegedly labelled him “a thief and a corrupt individual” on Twitter.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Through his lawyers, Machiridza Commercial Law Chambers, Zivhu, who is president of the Cross-Border Traders’ Association and the chairman of the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Housing Association (ZAHA), filed summons at the High Court on October 2, 2018.
Mliswa is yet to file an appearance to defend.
According to Zivhu, Mliswa, whose Twitter handle “Hon. Temba P. Mliswa @TembaMliswa”, has since April 25, 2017 to date been using the social media platform to tweet defamatory statements against him, insinuating that he is a thief and a corrupt individual.
“… The defendant [Mliswa] has been using the social media platform to tweet defamatory statements implicating that the plaintiff [Zivhu] is corrupt and that he is a thief who corruptly acquired land in Norton which he has failed to develop and sells dubious stands to Galloway residents and does not provide them with title deeds,” Zivhu said in his declaration.
“The defendant’s Twitter account is widely viewed as he has a large number of followers and these particular tweets have been retweeted by other twitter users, thereby further broadening the viewership of these defamatory tweets and allegations. Printouts of the mentioned tweets and published articles are hereby attached.
“Moreover, several articles have been published on several news websites including ZimEye, The Sunday Mail and the Zimbabwean.com who all quoted the defendant as the source.”
The Chivi South legislator said he, together with his organisation ZAHA, have been reported to different police stations, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Fraud section, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), former President Robert Mugabe, army and various government departments by Mliswa, for his arrest, but no action has yet been taken.
“The defendant’s words, in the context of the tweets and numerous articles, are untrue, wrongful and defamatory of the plaintiff in that they were intended and were understood by the readers and followers on Twitter account to mean that the plaintiff is dishonest, manipulative, pretentious, divisive, unscrupulous, cold-hearted towards the public and unworthy of leadership,” Zivhu said.
“The defendant’s said words were further understood to mean that the plaintiff is a criminal with intentions of defrauding the poor public members and residents of Galloway Norton of their money in selling those stands, where he will not deliver title deeds to the stands nor develop the area. It also imputes that the plaintiff has high profile connections that are quick to cover up his fraudulent dealings.
“… The damage caused to the plaintiff is continuing because the articles are still available online and the tweets continue to circulate on social media platforms, thereby perpetuating the harm that has been perpetuated on the plaintiff’s reputation … plaintiff seeks general damages against defendant in the sum of $1 000 000 for defamation of character.”