ZIMBABWE Football Association (Zifa) chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze has filed a $200 000 defamation lawsuit against Zimbabwe Newspapers, Herald Editor and Herald Sports Editor Robson Sharuko over a story published in The Herald on February 4.
BY CHARLES LAITON
According to the summons issued under case number HC1291/15, Mashingaidze claims the story titled Ignorant and misguided was so damaging to his person to the extent that the claimed damages would meet the justice of the case.
Through his lawyers Mabundu Law Chambers, Mashingaidze claims the article was “fraudulent, invented and/or imagined”.
The Zifa boss says he never wrote the said letter to Fifa.
“The unfortunate ‘fraud’ of an article premised on an ‘invented’ or ‘imagined’ letter pains the plaintiff in a way and manner that is far beyond the painting of words,” Mashingaidze’s lawyers said in the summons filed on Thursday last week.
“The pain and lethal attack on the name and person of the plaintiff cannot be quantified with exactness. Plaintiff believes that the amount of $200 000 claimed meets the justice of the case (and) payment in the sum of $100 000 being damages for defamation, and the other $100 000 for contumelia damages.”
According to Mashingaidze, the article claimed he branded a duly-elected Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister of Sports Tabitha Kanengoni-Malunga as devoid of brain and conception as to say she is “ignorant and ill-informed”.
He said the article also claimed that he penned a letter to Fifa claiming that the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe was interfering in the running of football in Zimbabwe, which claims he dismissed as false.
“Plaintiff is the CEO of Zifa. He is the last person to be expected by the public to play the Judas in the destruction of a game loved by most in the nation,” Mashingaidze’s lawyers said.
“Plaintiff actually has come out clear on his interviews that independent Zimbabwe cannot afford a repeat of the 1965 ban by Fifa in the aftermath of the UDI [Unilateral Declaration of Independence]. The created impression is defamatory. It portrays him as a failed builder, who builds by day and destroys by night.”
The Zifa boss further claims in the said letter, it was alleged he was “not candid with Fifa as he merely gave a one-sided story”, and that he triggered the letter written by Fifa and addressed to Zifa president Cuthbert Dube.
Mashingaidze further said he was accused of being “a schemer who with a well thought-out stratagem ensured that Fifa’s letter superceded the meeting between the Zifa Board Members and the Sports and Recreation Commission”.
“The plaintiff maintains that the unfortunate article is scurrilous, libellous, and defamatory in that it is false, because he never authored such a letter, but ‘it is a monumental scandal to insist otherwise’,” the lawyers said.
“The article creates, publishes and circulates an impression that at his (Mashingaidze) level of office, he has no respect and courtsey for authority so as to refer to the Deputy Minister of Sports as ‘ignorant and misguided’, thus he is portrayed as one who is unfit for his office and lacking professional etiquette.”
Mashingaidze claims that the article further creates an impression that he is a “traitor who actually invites the Fifa ban” on local football.
Zimpapers, Herald Editor and Sharuko are yet to enter an appearance to defend notice.