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Kaukonde's $5 million litigation against Zimpapers commences

by Staff reporter
13 Jun 2017 at 05:37hrs | Views
FORMER Zanu-PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde's $5 million defamation lawsuit against Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) is set to commence between July 5 and 7 this year after lawyers representing both parties agreed on the trial dates.

The matter will be heard before High Court judge Justice Ester Muremba.

Kaukonde is suing Zimpapers over articles published in its titles The Sunday Mail and Sunday News newspapers in November 2014 titled Ray Kaukonde in sex-for-power storm and Kaukonde in sex scandal respectively.

The trial was supposed to have started yesterday, but when the matter was presented before Justice Muremba, Zimpapers lawyer Advocate Fadzai Mahere submitted that the parties had agreed on the postponement of the matter.

Kaukonde is being represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who is instructed by Mordecai Mahlangu.

In the litigation, the former Zanu-PF chair claims that the allegations raised against him in the November 2014 articles were malicious, wrongful and plainly defamatory of his person.

"The allegations in the context of the article . . . were intended and were understood by the readers of the publications to mean that plaintiff is immoral, depraved and unfit to hold responsible office," Kaukonde said in his affidavit. "Apart from the defamatory meaning of the articles, as set out above, the articles carry the additional sting that plaintiff is a corrupt politician who abuses authority."

In the lawsuit, Zimpapers journalists Tumeliso Makhurane and Mabasa Sasa are cited as second and third respondents.

However, in their defence, the journalists have dismissed Kaukonde's averments, arguing they have a duty to inform the public on anything concerning aspiring public office bearers.

"The defendants admit that the two articles, as published, did contain the averments as listed," they said.

"The defendants, however, aver that the statements were published of and about a public figure, in the public interest, ahead of an event of national interest, being the sixth national people's congress of the ruling party [Zanu-PF] in Zimbabwe.

"The defendants further aver that they acted in fulfilment of their role of informing the public, who have a legitimate interest in receiving information of and about persons holding or aspiring to public office."

The two articles, it is alleged, stated more or less that Kaukonde has been demanding sexual favours from Zanu-PF female party members aspiring for leadership positions.

Source - newsday