By Mary Taruvinga
Zanu PF youth league deputy secretary Lewis Matutu has been slapped with a $4 million defamation lawsuit by South African based businessman, Frank Buyanga for naming him in a list of alleged fraudsters.
Buyanga said the naming tarnished his social and business standing and was very embarrassing.
He filed the lawsuit through his lawyers saying the story naming him as a fraudster was published in the media on August 7, this year.
“The publication referred to the fact of the plaintiff (Buyanga) being on the list of fraudsters of the land acquisition process. The aforesaid publication wrongfully and maliciously, with injurious intent stated, of the plaintiff that: the plaintiff has prejudiced the general public by manipulating and defrauding the country’s land acquisition process thereby portraying the plaintiff as a fraudster and an unethical businessman,” Buyanga said in his court papers.
Buyanga said the story also insinuated that he is an individual who has benefited from alleged lack of accountability in the (late) Robert Mugabe-led government.
The article also stated that he owns multiple farms acquired during the land reform programme.
Buyanga said the allegations were “false, reckless, defamatory and injurious” to his reputation and dignity.
“Furthermore, the allegations published as aforesaid, in the context of the story were wrongful and defamatory to the plaintiff in that they were intended and understood by the readers to mean that the plaintiff is cruel and a dishonest individual who unjustifiably grabbed vast pieces of land at the expense of the generality of Zimbabweans,” Buyanga said.
Buyanga is now demanding $4 million in damages and an interest of $4 million at the prescribed rate from the date of issue of summons to the date of payment in full.
He further demanded that Matutu should publish a retraction and apologise to him.
He said the retraction should be put in a national newspaper at his own cost.
“The apology must be done in the same manner of visibility as the publication in question,” he said.
Buyanga is being represented by his lawyers Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners
The case is yet to be heard.