THE Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo and politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa have filed papers at the High Court in Bulawayo to oppose an application by Information minister Jonathan Moyo for $
2 billion in damages.
Nkomo and Dabengwa, cited as the first respondent and second respondents respectively, filed the notice with the Bulawayo High Court on Tuesday through their lawyers, Gula-Ndebele & Partners.
“Take note that on February 1, 2005 at 12 pm the first and second respondents have entered an appearance to defend in the above matter,” reads the notice.
The filing of the opposing papers by the two has set the stage for a bruising legal battle that is set to widen divisions between Moyo and senior politicians in the ruling party.
Moyo is currently clutching at straws after he was left out of the Zanu PF central committee and the party’s supreme decision-making body, the politburo, on allegations that he masterminded the ill-fated Tsholotsho meeting that has seen other party bigwigs fall by the wayside.
As if this was not enough, Moyo also failed to secure the ticket to represent Zanu PF in Tsholotsho after the party reserved the seat for a woman candidate.
The lawyer representing the two, Kenell Chirumota of Gula-Ndebele & Partners, confirmed that papers were filed with the Bulawayo High Court and said he was still taking instructions from his clients.
“Papers have been filed with the Bulawayo High Court and we are currently working on preliminaries but as of now I am taking instructions from my clients,” Chirumota said.
He said no date has been set for the hearing of the case.
In papers filed at the same court on January 18, Moyo alleged that the two defamed him in statements they allegedly made in Tsholotsho. In the summons served on the two the government spin doctor alleges that they made statements that were “false, wrongful, unlawful and highly defamatory” of him.
Nkomo and Dabengwa were served with the summons on January 21 and were ordered to respond to the lawsuit in 10 days.
Moyo has openly attacked the two senior politicians in the last month and has devoted considerable space in state newspapers to abusing them.