By Mary Taruvinga
A HARARE man who was slapped with a $3,5 million defamation lawsuit by Registrar General Clemence Masango is defending the claim, daring the top civil servant to produce proof that he made the alleged spiteful statements.
Godwine Gumisai Mureriwa has not yet fully responded but has filed his notice to defend the claim and also demanded further details that will enable him to argue the case.
He told the court that he only received the summons on January 3 this year.
“Defendant hereby requests for further particulars to enable him to plead or except to the summons,” said Masango responding to the claim.
He went on to ask, “What were the exact words uttered by me. Was the plaintiff present when the alleged defamatory statements were uttered? If he was not, who told him?”
Mureriwa added, “What evidence does plaintiff have to prove that I actually defamed him. Proof thereof is requested.”
Masango, in response said he was not present when Mureriwa uttered the defamatory statement, but will tender a voice recording of his said utterances when the trial begins.
The Registrar General issued summons against Mureriwa last year accusing him of having defamed him on September 19 in front of his juniors at Harare Central Registry.
Quoting Mureriwa, Masango said: “Plaintiff (Masango) is corrupt and habitually abuses his office by allocating emergency passports to his relatives while prejudicing deserving applicants of a timely service and such conduct is deliberately calculated by plaintiff to sabotage the government’s economic turnaround effort and that applicant has and continues to have illegal and unfettered access to the confidential records lodged in the national registry”.
Following this, the Registrar General said Mureriwa’s statements were “wrong, defamatory, false and were intended to be understood by those present to mean that he (Masango) was corrupt, unpatriotic, incompetent, a saboteur and not a law-abiding citizen who lacks moral fibre”.
He also insisted the said statements were motivated by malice and were intended “to injure his reputation, lowering him in the estimation of his subordinates, his employer, his family, ordinary reasonable persons, exposing him to public ridicule and contempt in his professional and personal capacity”.