ZIMBABWE Football Association (Zifa) chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze (pictured) has filed a $200 000 defamation lawsuit against Zimbabwe Newspapers and its editor and Robson Sharuko over a story published in The Herald on February 4.
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
According to the summons issued under case number HC1291/15, Mashingaidze claimed the story titled Ignorant and misguided was so damaging to his person to the extent that the claimed damages would meet the justice of his claim.
Through his lawyers Mabundu law Chambers, Mashingaidze claims the article was “fraudulent, invented and/or imagined”. The Zifa boss says he never wrote the said letter to Fifa.
“The unfortunate ‘fraud’ of an article premised on an ‘invented’ or ‘imagined’ letter pains the plaintiff in a way and manner that is far beyond the painting of words,” Mashingaidze’s lawyers said in the summons filed on Thursday last week.
“The pain and lethal attack on the name and person of the plaintiff cannot be quantified with exactness. Plaintiff believes that the amount of $200 000 claimed meets the justice of the case (and) payment in the sum of $100 000 being damages for defamation, and the other $100 000 for contumelia damages.”
According to Mashingaidze, the article claimed he branded a duly elected Member of Parliament and Sports deputy minister Tabitha Kanengoni Malunga as devoid of brain and conception as to say she is “ignorant and ill-informed”.
He said the article claimed that he penned a letter to Fifa claiming that the government of Zimbabwe was interfering in the running of football, claims he dismissed as false.
“Plaintiff is the chief executive officer of Zifa; he is the last person to be expected by the public to play the Judas in the destruction of a game loved by most in the nation,” Mashingaidze’s lawyers said.
“Plaintiff actually has come out clear in his interviews that independent Zimbabwe cannot afford a repeat of the 1965 ban by Fifa in the aftermath of the UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence). The created impression is defamatory. It portrays him as a failed builder, who builds by day and destroys by night.”
The Zifa boss further claims in the said letter, it was claimed he was “not candid with Fifa as he merely gave a one-sided story”. And that he triggered the letter written by Fifa and addressed to the Zifa president Cuthbert Dube.
Mashingaidze also said he was accused of being “a schemer who with a well thought out stratagem ensured that Fifa’s letter supra preceded the meeting between the Zifa board members and the Sports and Recreation Commission”.
“The plaintiff maintains that the unfortunate article is scurrilous, libellous, and defamatory in that it is false, because he never authored such a letter, but “it is a monumental scandal to insist otherwise”, the lawyers said.
“The article creates, publishes and circulates an impression that at his (Mashingaidze) level of office, he has no respect and courtesy for authority so as to refer to the Sports deputy minister as “ignorant and misguided” thus he is portrayed as one who is unfit for office and lacking professional etiquette.
Mashingaidze claimed that the article further created an impression that he was a “traitor who actually invites the Fifa ban” on local football.
Zimpapers, the Herald editor and Sharuko are yet to enter an appearance to defend notice.