Besieged Zanu PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere has filed a $1 million defamation lawsuit against Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha and journalists from the State media for utterances and articles published in the past month against him.
In a lawsuit filed by his lawyers, Coghlan, Welsh and Guest, Kasukuwere alleged that statements uttered by Dinha against him that were published by newspapers under the Zimpapers stable were “false and defamatory”.
The Local Government minister said Dinha, editors of the State media (The Herald and The Sunday Mail) and its reporters maligned him, when they alleged that he was plotting to remove President Robert Mugabe by setting up parallel Zanu PF structures in Mashonaland Central.
“The Herald quoted the second defendant (Dinha), who stated of the plaintiff that ‘G40 exists and Cde Kasukuwere was its mafia boss. I also submitted that he was gearing for the Presidency by co-opting people amenable in preparation for a possible congress’,” Kasukuwere stated in the summons.
“The defendants’ words in the context of the articles are untrue, wrongful and defamatory of the plaintiff in that they were intended and were understood by the readers of The Herald and Sunday Mail to mean that the plaintiff is dishonest, violent, power-hungry, pretentious, divisive and unworthy of leadership,” read part of the summons.
Kasukuwere has been under attack from party members, who want him out on allegations of plotting to remove Mugabe and fuelling factionalism, charges he has denied.
Party structures last month protested against the Local Government minister, forcing Mugabe to send a delegation led by Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda to probe allegations against Kasukuwere, but the team is yet to table its findings.
In the run-up to the protests, Dinha had been very vocal, to the extent of calling for Kasukuwere to step down, saying he was not fit to hold the commissariat office.
The summons list Zimpapers as the first defendant, Dinha second, The Herald editor, Caeser Zvayi, Sunday Mail editor, Mabasa Sasa and two of their reporters. Kasukuwere said Dinha’s words meant that he was a “criminal with intentions of toppling the constitutionally-elected President of Zimbabwe and removing him as the leader of the ruling party Zanu PF”.
“As a result of the defamation, plaintiff has been damaged in his reputation and has suffered damages in the amount of $1 000 000,” the court papers read. The defendants have 10 days to respond to the suit if they want to defend themselves.