THE High Court has dismissed a $30 million lawsuit filed by Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi against The Standard newspaper and three others, for defamation, following the publication of a letter written by Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross insinuating that Mohadi was responsible for the criminal vandalism of the electrical system between Harare and Gweru.
Report by Phillip Chidavaenzi
The lawsuit was filed against The Standard, a sister publication to NewsDay, The Standard Press (Pvt) Ltd, the paper’s former editor Davison Maruziva and Cross as first, second, third and fourth respondents, respectively.
In his recent judgment, Justice Happious Zhou noted the words in the letter, upon which the minister based his complaint, did not refer to Mohadi.
“The exception taken is that the words complained of contain no reference to the plaintiff and further, that the declaration makes no proper allegations of what facts would enable an ordinary reader to identify the plaintiff as the person referred to,” he said.
“In the instant case the article does not refer to the plaintiff by name. Where the plaintiff is not identified by name or referred to by name or description such as his office or occupation, he must state the facts upon which he relies as showing that the statements complained of referred to or concerned him.”
The allegations arose from Cross’ letter to the editor, published in The Standard edition of October 11-17 2009 under the title Criminal Vandalism.