INFORMATION and Communication Technology (ICT) minister Supa Mandiwanzira has filed a $2 million defamation lawsuit against Mabvuku-Tafara MP, James Maridadi, claiming the opposition legislator defamed him in an article published in the Daily News in May last year.
BY CHARLES LAITON
This follows the publication of an opinion piece by Maridadi, titled A chip off the old block, which referred to widely-circulating allegations at the time that Mandiwanzira had forced the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe to buy him a $200 000 car.
In his court application, Mandiwanzira claimed the article created an impression that he had abused his position as a Cabinet minister for his own personal gain.
He also claimed that the opinion piece had damaged his reputation in terms of his suitability to be a legislator and a Cabinet minister.
“As a result of the defamatory statements referred to herein, the plaintiff has been damaged in his reputation and suffered damages in the sum of $2 million,” he said.
The minister also cited Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) — publishers of the Daily News — and its editor, Stanley Gama, as co-respondents.
Meanwhile, ANZ and Gama have since entered appearance to defend notices, whereas Maridadi is yet to act on the summons.
In the claim, the minister further said in the alleged defamatory article, Maridadi wrote that an order for the purchase of a vehicle by a parastatal under his (Mandiwanzira’s) ministry amounted to “heartless greed and selfishness”, adding, “such heartless greed and selfishness is what has destroyed this once jewel of Africa”.
“The impression created by the article is that the plaintiff, for his personal gratification and selfish reasons and in abuse of his position as a minister, directed the named parastatal to purchase the vehicle when the vehicle in question was purchased for and owned by CMED (Pvt) Ltd, which is a company owned by government,” Mandiwanzira said.
“The process did not and does not involve the plaintiff or require his approval.”
Mandiwanzira further said the article stated that the purchase of the said vehicle was an investment for one person, who already had a fleet of state-of-the-art vehicles bought from taxpayers’ sweat.