Zanu PF factions square off

THE $50 million defamation lawsuit against Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairperson Jaison Machaya, his election agent Douglas Kanengoni and Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti has been dismissed as a concoction by sore losers.

BLESSED MHLANGA
STAFF REPORTER

Machaya, Kanengoni and Bhasikiti’s lawyers Sachikonye-Ushe Legal Practitioners said Auxilia Mnangagwa (wife of politburo guru Emmerson Mnangagwa), July Moyo, Douglas Tapfuma, Owen Ncube and Daniel Makenzie Ncube only filed their claims because of their bitterness at losing elections.

Mnangagwa is widely seen as leader of a faction positioning itself to take over control when President Robert Mugabe leaves the stage.

Machaya, who is reportedly in a camp backing Vice-President Joice Mujuru, beat Mnangagwa’s alleged prodigy Larry Mavhima for the chairmanship.

The five filed a defamation case at the High Court demanding $10 million each last year after the party’s Midlands provincial elections following a scathing dossier written by Kanengoni alleging that they were involved in a ploy to rig the polls.

“The averments made in the election petition were true and correct and can easily be verified.

“The said petition was not a personal attack on the plaintiffs, but was a candid revelation of the truth on the ground.

“Plaintiffs are therefore challenged to point out any malicious falsehoods made against them if any,” the plea by the defendants’ lawyers reads.

The lawyers further noted that Kanengoni, a former Central Intelligence Organisation operative, wrote the election petition independently and did not consult his boss or show him the petition before submitting it to Bhasikiti and the plaintiffs.

“In as much as he was an agent of Machaya, Kanengoni wrote the election petition in his capacity as a duly registered member of Zanu PF who had a right to register displeasure in the manner in which the elections were conducted,” the lawyers wrote.

In defence of Bhasikiti, who was in charge of the elections, the lawyers said he had received Kanengoni’s dossier containing allegations of massive vote-rigging, investigated them and found them to be true.

“Bhasikiti did not associate himself with the alleged defamatory documents. He was in charge of elections in the Midlands province and as such was obliged to verify whether what was alleged was true.

“Upon investigations into the complaint raised through the petition, he discovered that the complaint had merit. He moved swiftly to correct the anomalies raised in the petition to the dissatisfaction of the plaintiff whose preferred candidates eventually lost the elections,” reads the plea.

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