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Tsvangirai denies claim

Clemence Manyukwe

ANTI-SENATE MDC faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai has denied accusing senior members of the pro-senate camp of plotting with Zanu PF to kill him. <

Responding to a $100 billion lawsuit instituted by pro-senate vice-president Gibson Sibanda, secretary-general Welshman Ncube, chairman Gift Chimanikire, treasurer Fletcher Dulini Ncube and spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi, Tsvangirai said he never made the remarks he was being sued over. He claimed the media had misquoted him.

Tsvangirai said: “The defendant (himself) did address a gathering of diplomats in Harare on 20th December 2005 and read out a prepared written statement. However, the article published by the Star newspaper (of South Africa) and the words complained of, are not an accurate and fair report of the defendant’s address to the said diplomats.”

In the address in question, Tsvangirai said he had information his “erstwhile colleagues” wanted to “harm or physically eliminate” him.

“We are aware of the level of logistical support and the quantities of material assistance that Zanu PF is providing to our erstwhile colleagues,” Tsvangirai told diplomats.

“In the past few days it has been brought to our attention by reliable and impeccable sources that the turbulence within our party over the past eight or so weeks was also designed to create a convenient opportunity and circumstances in which some in the leadership, including the MDC president, are to be harmed and even physically eliminated, and the heinous crime blamed on intra-MDC conflict. This project is still very much alive and active.”

The pro-senate leaders claim they were defamed because the reported allegations portrayed them as “criminals, unworthy and corrupt politicians who are dishonest sell outs”.

Tsvangirai said in the event the court ruled his prepared statement to diplomats was defamatory, he will plead he was entitled to deliver it in the reasonable belief it was true at the time.

“That in the circumstances the public right to receive information as enshrined in section 20 of the constitution of Zimbabwe overrides the plaintiffs’ right to protection of their reputation, particularly considering the political positions of the plaintiffs,” he said.

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