Court overturns Mliswa defamation victory

BY CHARLES LAITON

HIGH Court judge Justice Helena Charewa has overturned a default judgment that had been entered in favour of Norton MP, Temba Mliswa against Zanu PF Chivi South Constituency MP, Killer Zivhu’s $1 million defamation claim.

Mliswa had earlier scored a victory when a default judgment was entered in his favour after he had approached the court on the basis that Zivhu’s summons were materially defective and Justice Tawanda Chitapi granted his application.

But while overturning Mliswa’s victory, Justice Charewa also issued an order compelling Mliswa to accept the court’s determination or risk being slapped with costs on a higher scale if he chose to oppose Zivhu’s application for rescission of the default judgment. The determination by Justice Charewa on December 12, 2019 followed yet another dismissal of Mliswa’s application by Justice Christopher Dube-Banda in which Mliswa had sought dismissal of Zivhu’s matter for want of prosecution.

“The default judgment entered against the applicant (Killer Zivhu) under case number HC8987/18 be and is hereby rescinded. The matter in case number HC8987/18 be and is hereby referred to trial. Costs on a higher scale of legal practitioner and client scale if the responded opposes this application,” Justice Charewa ruled.

Sometime in October last year, Zivhu, who is the president of the Cross Border Traders Association and the chairman of the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Housing Association, filed the lawsuit after Mliswa allegedly tweeted on his personal Twitter account labelling the Chivi South MP “a thief and a corrupt individual”.

According to Zivhu, Mliswa, who operates a Twitter account under the name “Hon. Temba P. Mliswa @TembaMliswa”, had since April 25, 2017 to October last year, when summons were issued, been using the social media platform to tweet defamatory statements against him.

However, after receiving the summons and through his lawyers, Mliswa, filed an appearance to defend and later again filed a special plea in support of his defence in which he urged the court to dismiss the matter on the basis that Zivhu’s summons were materially defective. Mliswa is being represented by Marufu Mandevere

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