MDC-Alliance legislator suing state paper

Kuwadzana East legislator Mr Charlton Hwende has ordered the state-owned Sunday Mail to, within 10 days, retract the defamatory article published by the paper on 3 February alleging that he is on the run and that he is the sole sponsor of violent disturbances.

The Sunday Mail published the article a few weeks after the protests describing Mr Hwende as a garrulous parliamentarian and as a known sponsor of the notorious Vanguard-the MDC-A paramilitary wing.

The Sunday Mail wrote: “Kuwadzana legislator and senior MDC-A official Charlton Hwende claims to be on the run. Apparently the garrulous parliamentarian holed up in Namibia ostensibly out of fear for his life. We have learnt that Hwende’s lawyer Norman Tjombe has written to the Namibian police seeking assistance to thwart possible ‘abduction and rendition’ to Zimbabwe. We also gathered that Mr Hwende believes that some state security agents have been deployed to Namibia supposedly to kidnap him.

“Hwende’s constituency was at the centre of the recent MDC Alliance organised violent riots. As a known sponsor of the notorious Vanguard-the MDC’s paramilitary wing- authorities are eager to have a chat with him.”

Through his lawyers of Atherstone and Cook legal practitioners, Mr Hwende said the article was “inaccurate and defamatory” and it lowered his standards.

“We have been made aware of an article appearing in the 3 February 2019 edition of the Sunday Mail newspaper, which refers to our client. That inaccurate defamatory/ editorial piece appears on page 9 of the issue and we are instructed to challenge the story/ comment, as we hereby do.”

“The article goes on to allege that the constituency that our client represents in the parliament of Zimbabwe that is Kuwadzana East was at the recent MDC-Alliance organised violent riots. This statement is inaccurate and defamatory on at least two forms namely: 1) in the Kuwadzana constituency not a single shop was looted or destroyed during the recent national stay away, 2) there is no justification for Sunday Mail or any other person to attribute any violence that might have been witnessed in the recent stay way to the MDC-Alliance or any party.”

The subject article violates the law in that: it has resulted in the malicious injury to honourable Hwende’s reputation and dignity, and it was written with a malicious motivation and in breach of the ethical standards of journalism.”  

Mr Hwende said he is considering legal action against the paper if there is no retraction within 10 days.

In an exclusive interview with this reporter, Mr Hwende said contrary to the allegations that he was on the run he was actually receiving treatment out of the country and he has been away since 21 December 2018.

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