By Mary Taruvinga
HIGH Court judge Justice Chitapi has dismissed an application by Zanu PF Chivi South legislator Killer Zivhu who was seeking $1 million defamation compensation from Independent Norton MP Temba Mliswa.
Zivhu was accusing Mliswa of labelling him “a thief and a corrupt individual” on Twitter.
“Whereupon, after reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that defendant‘s special plea is upheld and plaintiff’s claim be and is hereby dismissed with costs on the attorney and client scale,” ruled Chitapi.
Through his lawyers, Machiridza Commercial Law Chambers, Zivhu, who is president of the Cross-Border Traders’ Association and the chairman of the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Housing Association (ZAHA), filed summons at the High Court on October 2, 2018.
According to Zivhu, Mliswa, whose Twitter handle “Hon. Temba P. Mliswa @TembaMliswa”, has since April 25, 2017 to date been using the social media platform to tweet defamatory statements against him, insinuating that he is a thief and a corrupt individual.
“… The defendant (Mliswa) has been using the social media platform to tweet defamatory statements implicating that the plaintiff (Zivhu) is corrupt and that he is a thief who corruptly acquired land in Norton which he has failed to develop and sells dubious stands to Galloway residents and does not provide them with title deeds,” Zivhu said in his declaration.
“The defendant’s Twitter account is widely viewed as he has a large number of followers and these particular tweets have been retweeted by other twitter users, thereby further broadening the viewership of these defamatory tweets and allegations. Printouts of the mentioned tweets and published articles are hereby attached.
“Moreover, several articles have been published on several news websites including ZimEye, The Sunday Mail and the Zimbabwean.com who all quoted the defendant as the source.”
The Chivi South legislator said he, together with his organisation ZAHA, have been reported to different police stations, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Fraud section, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), former President Robert Mugabe, army and various government departments by Mliswa, for his arrest, but no action has yet been taken.
Zivhu said damage is still continuing because the articles are still available online and the tweets continue to circulate on social media platforms.