Zanu-PF Goromonzi West MP and aspiring candidate for Bikita South, Energy Mutodi is suing opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa and three others for US$5 million over what he says is a defamatory video circulating on social media purporting that the former Deputy Information Minister was torturing an opposition activist.

This comes after a video was shared on social media platforms showing a man brutally assaulting a victim with a sjambok before torturing him with a hammer.

Without verification, some people claimed that it was Mutodi assaulting an opposition opponent leading to this case.

Mutodi believes that the defamatory video was initiated by Chamisa and his activists in order to tarnish his image and ensure the disqualification of his candidature ahead of 2023 harmonised general elections.

A leaked court draft seen by Express Mail Zim shows that Chamisa was cited as the first respondent with Mutodi opponent Barney Nyika as the second respondent, while John Mupanduki and Munyaradzi Shoko cited as third and fourth respondents respectively.

“Defamation of Character with intention to cause disqualification of Applicant from August 23 Elections as a Candidate,” read part of the draft application thereof.

In the founding affidavit, he said:

“I am a member of ZANU PF duly nominated to stand as a candidate in the August 23 elections as a Member of Parliament representing ZANU PF.

“On Thursday 6 July 2023, Nelson Chamisa gathered his supporters at Baradzanwa Shopping Centre who stoned vehicles belonging to the applicant.

“The estimated total cost of damage is US$5000.00 (Five thousand United States Dollars).

“Following the heinous act, one John Mupanduki went to report a criminal case in which he falsely claimed the applicant had stoned the crowd waiting to be addressed by Nelson Chamisa when in fact it was the CCC supporters who stoned applicant’s cars.

“It is the 1st respondent who incited his supporters to stone applicant’s cars.

“Had he not incited the violence, the damage caused could not have happened,” it reads.

Circumstances are that on Monday July 17 2023, CCC supporters again with the alleged aim to defame and incriminate Mutodi went on social media to publish a gruesome video in which a man speaking Tonga language was assaulting a victim in an unknown location.

“The 1st Respondent (Chamisa)’s supporters who include the 3rd respondent directly and indirectly spread the video with the aim to defame and portray the applicant in bad light with the hope to cause the applicant’s disqualification as a nominated candidate.

“The 1st respondent has done all these acts while working with the 2nd respondent who acts as his agent and was present when the 1st respondent’s supporters who also happen to be his potential voters stoned the applicant’s cars.

“Respondents 1, 2, 3 and 4 have directly and indirectly contributed to defamatory statements which they have created in order to negatively affect the candidature of the plaintiff and to harm his reputation as a law abiding citizen for obvious reasons among them to either cause loss of his nomination or loss of public confidence in him and or both,” further reads the affidavit.

Further allegations are that the defamatory video which went up on a twitter account held by the 4th respondent and shared on the official handle of 1st respondent’s party handle called @CCC went viral and was read by at least 2,000,000 people by the time the 4th respondent pulled down the fake news following a public outcry.

Mutodi further argues and states that Chamisa is vying for the post of President under the CCC ticket in August 23 elections and therefore has direct interest in the defamatory effect of this video and the link it might be accorded by the public to ZANU PF and its candidates.

The total cost he is claiming is US$5,000,000 as the reputational damage they have caused on him which he deems “irreversible”.

Contacted for comment, Mutodi was not available at the time of writing Monday , but Uta Chipepura who is his information manager said the opposition CCC had stooped so low that they were now resorting to peddling falsehoods hoping to cause disharmony among supporters.

“The writing is now on the wall that Nelson Chamisa is going to lose this election to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and is peddling falsehoods in order to mislead outsiders and discredit the whole electoral process.

“The opposition CCC is engaging in a game of misinformation but when the truth eventually comes out like this it spells doom for them,” said Chipepura.