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Judge sues Majongwe for defamation

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HIGH Court judge Justice Francis Bere has filed a $500 000 defamation claim against Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe.

According to papers before the courts, Justice Bere took umbrage with Majongwe’s criticism of his ruling in the fight for control of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) between rival factions backing Lovemore Matombo and George Nkiwane.

Majongwe supports the Matombo faction, but the court ruling in December, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court, barred the faction and its affiliates from using ZCTU property, “holding themselves to be office bearers of the ZCTU or hold meetings in the name of ZCTU”.

However, in his affidavit, Justice Bere said in June this year, Majongwe made “injurious and defamatory utterances which he published, or caused to published” by the Daily News.

The publication quoted Majongwe saying: “We smell a rat as far as we are concerned. There is a clear political reason . . . why would anybody sitting in a court make a decision on merits of a case that does not concern him?

“Justice Bere misdirected himself and that judgment is stinking with political motivation.”

But Justice Bere said Majongwe’s remarks were “not only injurious to (him) and defamatory, but also they were scurrilous, insolent, intemperate, false and irrational given that, inter alia, the plaintiff’s judgment had been upheld by a superior court.
“(Majongwe) ignored the plaintiff’s written demand for an explanation on August 2, 2012.”

Justice Bere said Majongwe should also pay interest on the $500 000 compensation claim at the prescribed rate from the date of judgment to the date of payment as well as pay the costs of the court action.

The judge’s lawyers, Scanlen and Holderness, gave the trade unionist 10 days to respond. —  newzimbabwe

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