VICE-PRESIDENT Phelekezela Mphoko’s claims that MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was personally involved in an attempt on the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s life at the height of the infamous Gukurahundi atrocities have landed him in trouble.
Tsvangirai has now written to Mphoko demanding a public apology within seven days or the Vice-President risks a lawsuit.
Through his lawyers, Atherstone and Cook, the MDC-T leader said the allegations were untrue and if Mphoko fails to apologise publicly within seven days, he would drag him to court.
“You must realise now, in the context of the falsity of your statements, that your allegations against our client regarding Gukurahundi are not only untruthful, they are terribly defamatory,” the letter delivered to Mphoko’s offices on Monday read.
“Your false statements incorrectly portrayed our client as a cruel, murderous and evil person, who would associate himself with, and participate in horrendous activities of the Gukurahundi-era madness.
“The defamatory allegations also cast our client as a dishonest politician, who would make the public believe that he cares about justice for victims of the Gukurahundi massacres, when, in fact, he had participated in the persecution of the said victims.”
On different fora, Mphoko stirred a hornet’s nest with a litany of theories concerning Gukurahundi.
At one point, he suggested that Gukurahundi was a Western conspiracy, and at another, he claimed that Tsvangirai was intensely involved in the worst atrocities the country has witnessed since independence.
In his allegations, Mphoko said Tsvangirai was involved in an assassination attempt on Nkomo and also alleged that the former Prime Minister was involved in the burning of villages and the murder of a police member-in-charge in Tsholotsho.
The MDC-T leader said if he did not get a retraction and an apology within seven working days, he would be left with no choice, but to take Mphoko to the cleaners.
“The retraction and apology must be issued by you in as public a manner as you delivered them, that is, at a Press conference convened for the purpose of setting the record straight, with journalists from all major media houses in Zimbabwe in attendance,” Tsvangirai’s lawyers wrote.
“Our client reserves his right to sue for defamation damages, whose quantum would be worked out accordingly in the event of lack of co-operation from you.
“Your failure to positively act on this demand within seven days from the date of this letter will likely result in our client exercising his rights and, therefore, taking the next relevant steps without further notice to you.”
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