ZANU PF Central Committee member, Phillip Chiyangwa, has taken Harare women’s league provincial chairperson, Ratidzo Mukarati, to court demanding $1 million from her over alleged defamatory statements uttered at the recently-held women’s national meeting.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The flamboyant businessman, who is also aspiring House of Assembly candidate for Zvimba South, filed summons against Mukarati on Wednesday through his lawyers Mutamangira and Associates. The women’s chairperson is yet to respond to the litigation.
In his declaration, Chiyangwa said the lawsuit against Mukarati came about following her utterances on June 7, 2018 while addressing the women’s national meeting, which was attended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and senior government and party officials.
Chiyangwa said Mukarati pleaded with Mnangagwa to deal with him for allegedly selling land at Eyrecourt Farm to Zanu PF party members at exorbitant prices.
“While defendant [Mukarati] was addressing the meeting in the presence of the President [Mnangagwa] and senior government and party functionaries, she publicly alleged that the plaintiff [Chiyangwa] owns land in Harare South, including Eyrecourt Farm,” he said.
“She unequivocally claimed that the plaintiff was making Zanu PF members pay a lot of money for the land at Eyrecourt Farm. She then proceeded to plead for urgent intervention of the President to engage local authorities so that they could assist the prejudiced Zanu PF members.”
The businessman, who is also Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president, said Mukarati’s utterances at the meeting were widely publicised by various media outlets nationwide, adding “they were outrightly defamatory” of his good name and standing.
“She falsely alleged that plaintiff owns several properties in Harare South and, without basis whatsoever, attributed all property wrangles and disputes in Harare South to him . . . Defendant falsely insinuated that the plaintiff is an unscrupulous businessman who charges excessive prices for urban land contrary to stated government policy and market rates,” he said.
Chiyangwa also said Mukarati’s utterances created an impression in the minds of the Zanu PF leaders and members at large, “that notwithstanding his position in the party, his business conduct and practices were undermining the electoral interest of Zanu PF and calculated to procure an adverse and unfavourable outcome for Zanu PF in the upcoming general elections”.
“Defendant’s utterances falsely create an impression that the plaintiff is an unethical, heartless and ruthless individual, who seeks to profiteer at the expense of the welfare of the less-privileged members of society, conduct which fully undermines the stated values of Zanu PF,” he said.
“In general, defendant’s utterances are wholly devoid of truth and substance and in light of her position in the party and the forum before which she chose to present the fabricated allegations, the good name and reputation of the plaintiff has been besmirched and will suffer irredeemably in politics, business, sport and standing in society at large.
“The plaintiff, therefore, claims against the defendant damages for defamation in the sum of $1 000 000.”