BY CHARLES LAITON
ZANU PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the party’s youth league deputy secretary, Lewis Matutu as the internal dog fights over allegations of corruption continue to tear the ruling party apart.
Mpofu, who is former Home Affairs minister, recently approached the High Court seeking an order to compel Matutu to compensate him after his name appeared on an economic saboteurs list that was drafted and released in June this year by the ruling party’s youth league accusing him (Mpofu) of being one of the several corrupt former Cabinet ministers.
When the list was released mid-year, Mpofu described his party youths, who were pressurising him to clear his name on corruption allegations, as relevance seekers while scoffing at their threats to block him from Zanu PF headquarters.
In summons through his lawyers Chambati, Mataka and Makonese Attorneys, Mpofu said the contents of Matutu’s statement were defamatory, false and misleading in that it was understood to mean that he (Mpofu) had violated the very foundation of the fight for democracy in the country because of his corrupt proclivities.
Mpofu further said Matutu’s statement suggested “that his corrupt inclinations continue to undermine socio-economic transformation in Zimbabwe and, as a corollary, the defendant’s (Matutu) generation is suffering immensely”.
“The claims, allegations and assertions made by the defendant as set out above are false, malicious, scandalous, wrongful and defamatory of the plaintiff in the extreme, in that on their plain and ordinary meaning, they allege corruption by the plaintiff and were intended by the defendant and understood by his audience and all the readers of the statement to mean; that plaintiff is a corrupt politician; is dishonest and cruel; is undermining socio-economic transformation in Zimbabwe because of his corrupt proclivities,” Mpofu said in his founding affidavit.
“In addition to the plain and defamatory per se content of the statement as set out above, the defamatory allegations carry with them the secondary meaning, an innuendo and sting that the plaintiff is not a law-abiding citizen and, therefore, unfit to hold public office and/or political office. The plaintiff’s reputation and standing being a businessman, practicing politician and current secretary for administration of Zanu PF has been significantly impaired in the eyes of the public.”
Before the filing of the lawsuit, Mpofu had urged Matutu and his colleagues to find other ways of getting attention.
“Honestly there are so many ways of seeking relevance and this is not one of them,” Mpofu was quoted as having said while laughing off the allegations and the threat to block him from entering Zanu PF headquarters.
He added: “They could have looked for better ways of seeking relevance and not this kind of things that they are doing.”
The corruption list came about amid reports that the youths were being used by a faction within the party angling to control the ruling party and elbow out perceived enemies, setting a stage for possible brutal internal fights.
Matutu is yet to enter appearance to defend.