Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has revived his $50 million defamation suit against the Daily News through an application to have a default judgment entered against him revoked. Mphoko is claiming damages amounting to $50 million from Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the publisher of The Daily News, over a report claiming that he was “a sellout” and “enriched himself with the blood of the people of this country”. He sued the newspaper arguing the article was defamatory and demanded compensation from the paper for publishing a false statement.
In March this year, the High Court threw out the claim after Mphoko failed to turn up for a pre-trial conference. An application for rescission of the judgment was filed. Advocate Thabani Mpofu, instructed by Mr Gerald Mlotshwa of GN Mlotshwa and Company, yesterday argued for the setting aside of the order before Justice Lavender Makoni. Mr Alec Muchadehama of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni law firm represented ANZ and its staffers Fungi Kwaramba and Stanley Gama.
In the chamber application for rescission of judgment, Mphoko argued that the order was erroneously granted because on the day in question he was out of Harare on Government business since he was Acting President. He attached a letter from the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda confirming that he was Acting President on the day a default order was granted against him. Gama’s opposing affidavit states that the court was never told that Mhoko was Acting President. He also argued that the article published under the headline: “Mphoko was a sellout: Sibanda” was quoting the former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda.
After hearing arguments from the parties, Justice Makoni reserved judgment.
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