BY CHARLES LAITON
Former Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development minister Jonathan Moyo, who is battling to defend a $5 million defamation claim filed by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga two years ago, has lost his Supreme Court appeal, in which he had sought to challenge the High Court’s decision which compelled him to defend the lawsuit.
High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa in January dismissed Moyo’s application which sought to throw away the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander’s claim on the basis that the court papers had not disclosed the alleged defamation.
The judge then gave Moyo a 10-day ultimatum to file his response to the lawsuit, but instead, he filed a Supreme Court appeal against the judge’s decision.
Yesterday, Supreme Court judges of appeal, Justices Ben Hlatshwayo, Anne-Mary Gowora and Lavender Makoni, dismissed Moyo’s appeal after his lawyer, Sympathy Mzondiwa made an application to have the matter withdrawn on the basis that the parties had agreed on the way forward.
“Why do you want us to withdraw the matter instead of dismissing it? If we withdraw it, it will remain like some ghost that will continue moving in our corridors and we do not want that, but we want to kill it completely….the appeal be and is hereby dismissed; appellant to tender wasted costs,” Justice Hlatshwayo said. The matter is now set to continue at the High Court.
The retired general slapped Moyo with the lawsuit soon after the latter issued a Press statement in July 2017 insinuating that the ex-military boss did not work for his doctorate degree with the University of KwaZulu Natal, but instead, someone had authored the thesis for him.
However, after receiving the summons, Moyo through his lawyers, filed an exception application saying the retired general’s declaration had not disclosed any cause of action in that the words complained of were not defamatory in any way and could, under no circumstances, be deemed to be damaging to his good name and reputation.
Justice Mabhikwa, however, said Chiwenga’s claim against Moyo was very precise, adding that in applying a number of law principles to the case at hand, it was difficult to comprehend how Chiwenga’s summons and declaration could be said to be vague and embarrassing.