TENDAI Biti, MDC-T secretary-general, is suing President Robert Mugabeâ€™s spokesman George Charamba, Zimpapers, and two journalists working for the Herald for defamation after they allegedly published false and defamatory articles intended to characterise him as â€œa power-hungry politicianâ€.
Biti is demanding US$500 000 in damages.
In his High Court lawsuit, Biti cited Zimpapers, Charamba, whom he also referred to as Nathaniel Manheru, Herald political editor Mabasa Sasa, and senior political reporter Sydney Kuwaza as defendants in the case.
Biti claimed in court papers that on different occasions, the Herald published articles that were â€œintended and were understood by readers of the newspaper to mean that he was â€œa power-hungry politicianâ€ and â€œis plotting to oust the president of his party Morgan Tsvangiraiâ€.
He said the articles implied that he was placing â€œself-interest above those of the Zimbabwean nationâ€.
The Herald was also accused of publishing articles that readers understood to mean that Biti scuttled the formation of the all-inclusive government for selfish and personal interests to the detriment of the Zimbabwean nation and was generally unethical. Â
He said the allegations by the newspapers were contained in articles headlined â€œMDC: Who really stands in the way of the inclusive government?â€ published on January 3 in a column, â€œThe other side with Nathaniel Manheruâ€; and â€œAnti Tsvangirai plot thickensâ€, published on January 6, and â€œMDC-T in crisis talksâ€ published on January 8.
Other articles were â€œMDC-T divided over inclusive governmentâ€ which ran on January 13 and â€œReturn Home or else, party tells Tsvangiraiâ€ published on January 15.
The articles allegedly blamed Biti for stalling talks in the formation of a new government due â€œto his enormous ambition for a meaningful role both within the MDC and in the proposed inclusive government.â€
According to the application the articles were defamatory and implied that Biti was not patriotic and was anti-Zimbabwean, deceitful and serving interests other than Zimbabweâ€™s.
â€œAs a consequence of the aforesaid defamation, plaintiff has been damaged in his reputation and has suffered damages in the sum of US$500 000â€ read the application.
The defendants were by this week yet to respond to the lawsuit.
BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA