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VICE President Phelekezela Mphoko has sued Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the publishers of the Daily News, over a defamatory article and is demanding $50 million compensation from the paper for libel. VP Mphoko has sued Daily News chief reporter Fungi Kwaramba; the group’s editor-in-chief, Stanley Gama; ANZ and Printco (Pvt) Ltd over a story claiming that he was “a sellout” and “enriched himself with the blood of the people of this country”.
The lawsuit filed in the High Court yesterday follows an article published in the Daily News edition of June 5, 2015 under a headline “Mphoko was a sellout: Sibanda”.
The libellous article claimed “Fearless former war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda claims that VP Mphoko sold out during the liberation struggle when he allegedly diverted weapons meant for the late Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu to President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, a move he says could have led to the needless death of thousands of people.”
In the article VP Mphoko was branded as a treasonous villain who for his own benefit, clandestinely supplied apartheid South Africa with war material that was in turn supplied to the Selous Scouts.
The Selous Scouts were a Special Forces regiment of the Rhodesian army formed for the specific purposes of clandestine elimination of zanla and zipra guerillas during the liberation war
“The defendants deliberately and maliciously failed to verify the accuracy and truthfulness of Jabulani Sibanda’s sensational utterances with the plaintiff before publishing the defamatory article to the general public,” said VP Mphoko.
“As a result of the defamatory publication, the plaintiff’s standing as a war veteran, diplomat and vice-president has been diminished and soiled locally, regionally and internationally,” said VP Mphoko.
The Vice President, who is being represented by his lawyer, Mr Gerald Mlothswa of G. N. Mlotshwa and Company, also wants the article deleted from the Daily News website to prevent further damage to his reputation.
“The Daily News . . . is widely distributed in Zimbabwe and is extensively read by the general public,” he said.
“The newspaper also has an online edition on the Internet which published the same article. The article therefore had and still has an international audience. The damage to the plaintiff’s reputation is a continuing one.”
Vice President Mphoko said he had been damaged in his reputation and “has suffered damages in the amount of $50 million”.
Last month, Mr Mlotshwa wrote to the ANZ demanding a full retraction but the newspaper refused to apologise. source-herald