Zifa official slaps Zimpapers with $200 000 defamation suit

Organisation of Rural Association for Progress (Orap) chief finance officer and Zifa board member Bryton Malandule has sued Zimpapers, demanding $200 000 damages for defamation after its regional paper The Chronicle published an article claiming he had stabbed his wife over cheating allegations.

BY STAFF REPORTER

Malandule filed the application at the Bulawayo High Court on February 23, citing Zimpapers (1980) Limited as the defendant.
In his founding affidavit, Malandule submitted that on December 8 last year The Chronicle newspaper published an article titled Zifa board member reported to police over wife stabbing.

“The article contained a defamatory statement to the following effect ‘sources close to the couple alleged they fought over an affair Malandule is allegedly having with a member of the Zimbabwe women soccer league’. The aforesaid published statement has effect of lowering plaintiff’s dignity and reputation in the eyes of all the people who read the statement in that the ordinary meaning and effect of the published statement is to portray plaintiff as a person who is promiscuous, immoral and an adulterer and taint plaintiff’s image by injuring his good name and standing as a Zifa board member and Cosafa member,” he submitted.

“… the defendant’s newspaper continued to publish the defamatory statement after being advised by plaintiff that it was false. There was reckless disregard of the falsity of the statement.”

He said on December 6 last year, the H-Metro on its front page published a defamatory statement to the following effect: “Zifa vice-president Omega Sibanda stands accused of cheating with southern region board member Malandule’s wife, the wife Samkeliso Ndlovu a woman soccer league board member is currently at Mpilo Hospital battling for her life after a bashing over the issue.”

“The published statement in the H-Metro newspaper portrays plaintiff as a violent and cruel man. The statement paints him in bad light to the general public and it cripples his character,” he submitted.

“The said defamatory statement was published without obtaining plaintiff’s side of the story…”

He said as a result of the defendant’s newspapers’ action, the plaintiff has to date been injured in his good name and reputation and has suffered damages in the sum of $200 000.

“Plaintiff’s claim against the defendant is for payment of the sum of $200 000 being damages for defamation arising out of the publication of two articles by defendants stable of newspapers,” he submitted. He also claimed interest on the sum calculated from February 2018 to date of full payment.

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