Bulawayo Bureau
Cde Auxilia Mnangagwa, wife to Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, and four of her colleagues, have issued a seven-day ultimatum to Zanu-PF Midlands provincial chairman Cde Jason Machaya and two co-accused party members to produce evidence defending a US$50 million defamation lawsuit.
The five party members, all from the Midlands, took Cde Machaya and his election agent Cde Douglas Kanengoni and Cde Kudakwashe Bhasikiti from Masvingo to court accusing them of defamation in the run-up to last year’s July 31 harmonised elections.

The trio compiled a document after the party’s Midlands provincial elections, accusing Cde Mnangagwa, a Zanu-PF central committee member, former provincial chairman Cde July Moyo, Cde Mackenzie Ncube, Cde Douglas Tapfuma and Cde Owen Ncube of vote-buying, rigging, fraud, lying, deceit and hypocrisy during the electoral process.

Cde Machaya, who is also the Provincial Minister of State for Midlands, retained the provincial party chairmanship after defeating Cde Larry Mavhima.
The five party members were each demanding US$10 million from the three accused cadres over a letter allegedly authored by Cde Kanengoni.

In their letter of demand in November last year written by Mutatu, Cde Mnangagwa and her colleagues argued that the allegations made by Cde Kanengoni were recklessly defamatory and threatened their political careers.

Through their lawyer, Valentine Mutatu of Mutatu and Partners, the five party members on Thursday filed a chamber application for an order compelling the trio to produce their evidence at the Bulawayo High Court.

The order drafted under case number 1445/14 before High Court Judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo instructs Cde Machaya, Cde Kanengoni and Cde Bhasikiti to “make discovery within seven days of service of this order”.

Cde Bhasikiti is the Provincial Minister of State for Masvingo and was in charge of the elections as the Zanu-PF team leader.
Lawyers said a notice of discovery entails that the three respondents were supposed to file papers they were going to use during trial within the given seven-day time-frame.
According to Mutatu, Cde Machaya and his co-accused were given 24 days to furnish the court with the discoveries, but have not done so yet.

Mutatu said the chamber application compelled the trio to file their defence papers, failure to which another chamber application would be made to strike out their defence and the matter would go for trial unopposed.

The trio’s legal representative, Mr Nelson Mashizha of Sachikonye-Ushe Legal Practitioners, on Friday said his clients had already filed the said papers.
“Mutatu’s application has been overtaken by events,” he said.

“When his application was made we had already sprung into action. We have the papers.”

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