Thursday, 5 October 2017

Zimbabwe VP Emmerson Mnangagwa sues education minister for $3m

Emmerson Mnangagwa. (File: AFP)

Zimbabwe’s Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly sued Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo for $3m on a defamation charge emanating from a widely circulated video presentation during the ruling Zanu-PF party’s politburo in July.

According to numerous reports on the politburo presentation, Moyo accused Mnangagwa of forcing Godfrey Majonga, a prominent journalist, to choose between sitting on a red hot stove or jumping from his flat window during an altercation about a woman in Harare in 1987.

He claims Majonga chose to jump, permanently paralysing him.

Subsequently to the surfacing of the accusations, the embattled vice president demanded an unreserved apology from Moyo or risk being sued for defamation.

“We are instructed to demand that you retract the statements and offer an unqualified apology approved by our client, which shall be placed on a prominent page of all newspaper publications circulating in Zimbabwe,” reads part of a letter sent by Mnangagwa’s lawyers to Moyo.

Interest of truth

But in defiance of the vice president’s demands, Moyo told the Standard that he stood by his politburo presentation and “in the interest of truth and justice as well as in the public interest, I’m ready to meet VP Mnangagwa in court over this matter anytime”.

The embattled vice president has since filed court papers late last month at the High Court demanding $3m from his Zanu-PF adversary, reports the state owned Herald newspaper.

Mnangagwa’s lawyers have said that the widely circulated video had the potential of lowering their client’s political reputation in both Zanu-PF politburo and in the eyes of the public.

“The damage caused to the plaintiff is continuing because the video continues to circulate through online newspapers publication as well as social media platforms, thereby perpetuating harm that has been perpetrated on the plaintiff’s reputation..,” the lawyers were quoted as saying.

Mnangagwa is believed to lead a faction in Zanu-PF readying itself to take over in the event President Robert Mugabe dies or steps down.

He is bitterly opposed by a group of younger officials reportedly aligned to First Lady Grace Mugabe.

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