Gweru businesswoman sues The Mirror for $1,5m

BY CHARLES LAITON

Gweru businessperson Smelly Dube has taken a Masvingo-based publication, The Mirror, to the High Court demanding defamation damages in the sum of $1,5 million, accusing the paper of misrepresenting facts against her.

Dube, who is the chief executive of River Valley Properties, recently filed summons against the newspaper. In her lawsuit, she also cited its editor Nkulumani Mlambo and reporter Elizabeth Mashiri as respondents.

According to Dube, between July 4-10, 2019, there was an article in The Mirror newspaper titled Land Developer snubs Commission, flies to UK and another sub-headline which read Perm Sec warns Smelly Dube, which made allegations that she had deliberately disregarded a call to appear before the Land Commission on June 27, 2019.

“The article further stated that Dube posted pictures and videos from the awards ceremony in Newington, the United Kingdom. The above-mentioned words, taken in the context of the article in its entirety, are wrongful and defamatory of the first plaintiff (Dube) in that they were intended and understood by the readers of The Mirror newspaper that the first plaintiff is void of integrity, dishonest and a corrupt businesswoman, who was trying to abscond the commission in an attempt to cover up something,” Dube said in her declaration.

“The contents of the article were entirely false in that the first plaintiff was in Zimbabwe at all material times and she never snubbed the commission to attend any award ceremony. The representatives of River Valley Properties, who is the second plaintiff, appeared at all material times before the commission when requested to, including the day in question and the last date they appeared was August 3, 2019 and never snubbed the commission.”

Dube further said the words used in the article were intended and understood by the readers of The Mirror newspaper that she is involved in underhand dealings and corrupt activities of sponsoring and travelling with State media journalists in order to report and have her affairs published favourably.

“Another article reported by the second defendant (Mashiri) was also published in The Mirror newspaper dated July 11-17, 2019 titled Herald reporter fails to explain EcoCash payments. In that report, the second defendant falsely and maliciously made defamatory statements against the first and second plaintiffs under the guise of reporting the proceedings of the commission,” she said. The cited defendants are yet to enter their appearance to defend notices.

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