THE Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Dominic Guvheya Nyikadzino Chiwenga has slapped Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo with a $5 million defamation lawsuit.
Prof Moyo issued the statement on July 9 and it was published on various media platforms, portraying the ZDF commander as a dishonest person who cheated to get the PhD qualification.
Part of the press statement deemed to be defamatory read: “Finally, I’m happy that Chiwenga wants pre and post-independence disclosures about who was who, who did what and so forth. That’s good.
“Meanwhile, I take that to mean he wants the disclosure of who contributed what to his doctorate and who really wrote his KZN PhD. Again, the Shona wisdom that kunyarara kurinani pane kutaura, applies. #Handeitione.”
Gen Chiwenga, through his lawyers Mr Wilson Manase and Mr Wellington Pasipanodya of Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners, argues that the statement was highly defamatory of him and he is entitled to the damages.
The lawyers argued that the words were wrongful and that the minister only sought to soil the general’s good name.
Gen Chiwenga contends that the same words can be taken to mean that he plagiarised and violated the research methods at the university, which is an act of misconduct.
“Apart from the the defamatory statement, was an intention to convey an innuendo that the plaintiff is in fact, dishonest, deceitful and that his academic post-graduate doctorate in Philosophy qualification from the University of Kwazulu Natal is an academic fraud…” reads the declaration.
Gen Chiwenga, who is the military boss, a decorated liberation war hero held in high esteem locally and regionally, suffered severe damage to his reputation and moral standing, the lawyers argued.
To that end, Gen Chiwenga is claiming the $5 million plus interest.
He is also seeking an order for costs on a punitive scale against Prof Moyo.
The press statement appeared in various daily and weekly newspapers as well as other media platforms.
Prof Moyo is yet to respond. state media