Chivi South Member of Parliament Cde Killer Zivhu has sued fellow legislator Mr Temba Mliswa of Norton Constituency for $1 million at the High Court over alleged defamation of character.
The suit arose from Mr Mliswa’s sustained denigration of Cde Zivhu using his social media platforms from 25 April last year to date.
In his plaintiff’s declaration, Cde Zivhu said Mr Mliswa, who is an independent, used this Twitter account under the name @TembaMliswa (Hon Temba Mliswa) to allege that he had corruptly acquired land in Norton’s Galloway area.
“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,” said Cde Zivhu.
“Print outs of the mentioned tweets and published articles are hereby attached as annexures. Moreover, several articles have been published on several news websites including Zimeye, The Sunday Mail and TheZimbabwe.co, who all quoted the defendant as the source.”
Cde Zivhu said Mr Mliswa’s words in the context of the tweets and the numerous articles were untrue, wrongful and defamatory in that they were understood by readers and followers of Twitter to mean he was “dishonest, manipulative, pretentious, divisive, unscrupulous, cold-hearted towards the public and unworthy of leadership”.
He said the words were further understood to mean that he was a criminal with intentions of defrauding the poor members of the public and residents of Galloway, Norton, of their money by selling them stands where he would not deliver title deeds nor develop the area.
Cde Zivhu said publication of the articles and the circulation of the tweets on social media by Mr Miswa was wrongful.
“The damage caused to the plaintiff is continuing because the articles are still available online and the tweets continue to circulate on social media platforms, thereby perpetuating the harm that has been perpetrated on the plaintiff’s reputation,” he said.
Cde Zivhu said his organisation, the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Housing Association owns more than 285 hectares of land in Galloway, Norton, and has title deeds in its name and all the relevant permits from Norton Town Council, including a sub-divisional permit granted in 1998.
He said he would prove in court that the land has permits registered by the Surveyor General and that it was purchased and all taxes due to Government and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority were paid.
Cde Zivhu said the land has been serviced up to 60 percent, with Norton Town Council having given the organisation up to 2020 to complete servicing the area.
He said the project was meant to benefit low income earners who could not afford to buy expensive residential stands and that was why it was being sold at $5 per square metre, which is below the price charged by councils.
The clients were being given between three and five years to pay.
Cde Zivhu said Mr Mliswa reported him to CID Fraud, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, different police stations, former president Mr Robert Mugabe, almost all former Government ministers, the army and the Central Intelligence Organisation, but investigations by all these organisations did not unearth any corruption.
Cde Zivhu said he had no choice, but to approach the court because Mr Mliswa refused to retract his statements despite demand that he does so.