Lawyer Rodney Saratoga Makausi has been granted permission by the High Court to pursue a lawsuit against hip hop artist and video vixen Christabel Stembeni ‘Kikky badass’ Mahlungwa in United States dollars. Makausi seeks US$500,000 in damages over a defamatory statement made by Mahlungwa on Instagram.

Mahlungwa contested the lawsuit, arguing that the US dollar ceased to be legal tender in Zimbabwe since June 24, 2019. She sought either the dismissal of the case or permission to amend the claim to be in local currency, asserting that the High Court lacked jurisdiction to render judgment in US dollars.

However, Justice Sunsley Zisengwe dismissed Mahlungwa’s application on Monday, ruling that the High Court does not have the authority to award damages in a foreign currency that ceased to be legal tender in Zimbabwe. According to The Mirror, the judgment stated that unless specific exceptions apply, the court can only order payment in local currency.

Makausi’s legal representation, Samuel Banda of Advocate’s Chambers in Harare, argued that defamation damages are not subject to the provisions of Statutory Instrument (SI) 142/19, which abolished the use of foreign currencies in Zimbabwe. Additionally, they cited a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the legality of judgments awarded in US dollars.

Representatives for Makausi and Mahlungwa respectively are Masamvu and Da Silva-Gustavo Law Chambers.