Former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo has said the $5 million defamation lawsuit against him filed by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga over a statement allegedly insinuating that someone authored the latter’s doctorate thesis is “vague and embarrassing”.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Moyo, in a response filed on January 4, said what he said in a statement in July last year has more than one meaning and lack the averments necessary to sustain a claim of defamation.
In his response through his lawyers, Atherstone and Cook, Moyo said: “Plaintiff’s (Chiwenga) declaration does not disclose any cause of action in that the words complained of are not defamatory in any way and can under no circumstances be damaging to plaintiff’s good name and reputation.”
“The claim for damages appears to be completely speculative, as the interpretation given in paragraphs seven to nine of the declaration is without any factual basis whatsoever. The summons, as well as paragraphs one and two of the plaintiff’s declaration, do not comply with Order Three Rule 11 of the High Court rules.”
But in his opposing response on Tuesday, through his lawyer, Brian Hungwe, Chiwenga maintains that Moyo’s words are capable of conveying the meaning suggested in the summons and declaration.
“The words of the Press statement might and/or are capable of conveying the meaning suggested in the summons and declaration in paragraph seven and carry the sting and additional innuendo ascribed to in paragraph eight and nine of the same,” Chiwenga said.
“There is nothing vague or embarrassing about them and the instituted defamation claim can be sustained. The words conveyed are defamatory, and damaged the plaintiff’s reputation as suggested.
“The words, in their plain meaning, suggest the plaintiff never wrote his doctorate in philosophy from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Subsequent damaging newspaper and social media articles, whose interpretation of the statement suggest the defamatory nature of the words, attest to this.”
The former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander further said there is a factual basis for damages and there is nothing speculative about the summons and declaration, adding the same complies with the High Court rules, 1971.