MDC-T treasurer and Deputy Minister of Agriculture-designate Roy Bennett has requested High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu to declare the number of farms which he occupied since the onset of the chaotic land reform programme.
Bennett, who is currently outside the country, is being sued for $1 million for defamation by Justice Bhunu.
Bennett’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa of Mtetwa and Nyambirai says she wants Bhunu to give a breakdown of farms which “he laid claim to” or give a list of farms that were allocated to him under the land reform exercise.
The lawyers also want to know the period Justice Bhunu spent on the farms he was allocated and to specify the current farm he is occupying.
The demands are contained in Bennett’s request for further particulars to Justice Bhunu filed with the High Court two weeks ago.
Mtetwa says these particulars will help her client in dealing with the judge’s claims.
Bhunu is suing Bennett for defamation amounting to $1 million.
Justice Bhunu alleges that Bennett uttered “distasteful” remarks against him in an interview with Zimbabwe Guardian.
Bennett in the court papers further requests Justice Bhunu to furnish the name of the reporter who wrote the story and also to name where the alleged interview is said to have taken place.
The MDC-T treasurer was acquitted in May after the state failed to prove its case against him on charges of terrorism, banditry and sabotage before Justice Bhunu.
The state had alleged that Bennett wanted to topple President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Justice Bhunu in his court papers said Bennett’s remarks were wrongful and defamatory and “were intended to convey and be understood by the readers of the Guardian newspaper to mean that Bhunu was not a fit and proper person to be a judge of the court and to preside over the trial of Bennett in that Bhunu was deliberately selected to preside over the defendant’s trial by persons that will stop at absolutely nothing to achieve their ends by a selective application of the rule of law”.
Bennett is said to have suggested that Justice Bhunu was compromised by virtue of the fact that his appointment was not based on merit but political patronage and connections and that his integrity had been achieved by the allocation of a farm through the land reform programme.
Bennett also wants Justice Bhunu to indicate where Zimbabwe Guardian is published and which country hosts the “newspaper”.