MDC-T Bulawayo chairman Gorden Moyo has threatened to sue ZBC for $500 000 over reports alleging that he attended a Zanu PF rally and was planning to defect to that party.
Moyo, represented by Phulu Ncube Legal Practitioners, yesterday wrote to Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere demanding a retraction of the stories within seven days failure to which he would proceed with the lawsuit.
The minister who is eyeing the Makokoba House of Assembly seat, at the weekend accused ZBC of spearheading a smear campaign against him after it reported he was contemplating joining Zanu PF.
The Parastatals and State Enterprises minister’s lawyers also wrote to the Zimbabwe Media Commission chairperson Godfrey Majonga asking him to deal with ZBC for “intentionally publishing false information in a manner that is injurious to their client’s reputation, rights and freedom.”
In a letter addressed to Muchechetere, the lawyers said on June 31, ZBC ran a story on ZTV and radio stations, “which depicted our client in the company of Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, in Makokoba constituency.
“The story stated that our client was drumming up support for Dube, a Zanu PF candidate and competitor at the said occasion and that our client was contemplating joining Zanu PF,” the lawyers said.
“This story has been repeated in a number of print and Internet-based publications.
“The above statements are not true and are misleading to the public regarding Honourable Gorden Moyo, who is a candidate representing the MDC-T in the Makokoba constituency.”
The lawyers said these statements came a day after their client had been accepted as a candidate by the nomination court.
“At no time did honourable Gorden Moyo, drum up support for Rtd Colonel Tshinga Dube at the said event and neither did he indicate any intention to join Zanu PF at any stage.
“There was no attempt to obtain our client’s comment about the issue.”
The lawyers demanded a retraction and an “unequivocal” apology to Moyo.
“In the event that the above demands are not met within seven days of this letter, our client shall proceed to issue summons for defamation in the amount of $500 000 against the editors of the news bulletins and your company,” the lawyers said.
Meanwhile, Moyo has accused Zanu PF and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) of employing dirty tactics after pamphlets were distributed in Makokoba yesterday denigrating him.
In one of the flyers with MDC-T symbols – obtained by Southern Eye – titled “Why we say Gorden Moyo is Zanu PF”, Moyo is accused of having destroyed MDC-T in Bulawayo through factionalism.
“He has imposed candidates; ask Prince Dube, Samuel Sandla Khumalo, Felix Mafa Sibanda.
“He has fuelled tribalism in Bulawayo, ask Felix Mafa Sibanda. There is not even one Shona MDC-T candidate in Bulawayo unlike in other parties, ask Kidwell Mujuru,” the flyer read.
“He even attends Zanu PF campaign rallies in Makokoba.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Moyo confirmed seeing the flyers, but accused Zanu PF and the CIO of being behind the smear campaign.
“I saw the flyers. The other (Zanu PF) allegations have been dismissed by Tshinga Dube himself so I won’t dwell on them.
“These are dirty tricks of Zanu PF and the CIO. They are desperate perennial losers. They lost Bulawayo in 2000, 2005, 2008 and will lose in 2013,” Moyo said.
“We have cleansed Bulawayo of Zanu PF. It’s now a Zanu PF-free zone.
“It is the CIO that are playing dirty tricks but those tricks won’t work. I am worried about voters and as I speak I am addressing a big rally in Mzilikazi.”
Dube, Sibanda, Khumalo and Mujuru last Friday submitted their papers to the nomination court as independent candidates after they failed to make it in the MDC-T primary elections.
Contacted for comment, Dube, representing Zanu PF in the area, laughed off the allegations saying Moyo should investigate the matter within his party.
“It is their people who produced those flyers. We know that there is internal fighting within the MDC-T,” he said.
“They should investigate among themselves. Those flyers have nothing to do with us.”