Mliswa suffers High Court blow in Zivhu defamation row

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By Mary Taruvinga

NORTON legislator, Temba Mliswa has suffered a blow after the High Court has reversed a default judgement passed in his favour in a case in which Zanu PF MP for Chivi Killer Zivhu was demanding $1 million defamation damages from him.

The two lawmakers have been embroiled in a bitter fight which spilled into the courts after Zivhu made the claim following Mliswa’s sustained attacks on him using his social media platforms from April last year.

Mliswa had scored victory when High Court judge, Tawanda Chitapi upheld his response opposing the claim, based on that the summons filed by Zivhu were defective.

Zivhu then approached the same court seeking rescission of the default judgement.

High Court judge, Helena Charewa then issued another order saying Mliswa risked being slapped with costs on a higher scale if he chose to oppose Zivhu’s application for rescission of the default judgement.

“The default judgment entered against the applicant (Killer Zivhu) under case number HC8987/18 be and is hereby rescinded. The matter in case number HC8987/18 be and is hereby referred to trial. Costs on a higher scale of legal practitioner and client scale if the responded opposes this application,” Justice Charewa ruled.

The determination by Justice Charewa followed another dismissal of Mliswa’s application by Justice Christopher Dube-Banda.

Mliswa had sought dismissal of Zivhu’s matter for want of prosecution.

The legal battle between the two legislators started in October last year.

Mliswa, an independent MP, used his Twitter under the name @TembaMliswa (Hon Temba Mliswa) to allege that Zivhu had corruptly acquired land in Norton’s Galloway area.

Zivhu then filed a lawsuit against him arguing the claims were not true and were defamatory to his person.

He said Mliswa’s statements were going to be understood by readers and followers of Twitter to mean he was “dishonest, manipulative, pretentious, divisive, unscrupulous, cold-hearted towards the public and unworthy of leadership”.

He also said the words were further understood to mean that he was a criminal with intentions of defrauding the poor members of the public and residents of Galloway.

Mliswa defended the claim.

He also filed another special plea arguing the claim by Zivhu was defective.

The case is now pending.