Zimbabwe Ministers sue for $20k over VP poison claim

MINISTERS Sidney Sekeramayi and David Parirenyatwa have written to Zanu PF activist, Energy Mutodi, demanding $20 000 each in defamation damages following his Facebook posts claiming the two tried to kill Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The duo’s lawyer Dzikamai Machingura said Mutodi’s post titled “Two Ministers Top Suspects in ED Poison Case” on 25 August 2017 contained offensive statements.

In a letter dated August 30 2017, the ministers in charge of the defence and health portfolios respectively, said Mutodi should retract his statement promptly.

“We have therefore been instructed to demand from you that you immediately and forthwith remove the offending post from your Facebook timeline and pay defamation damages in the amount of $20 000 for our respective clients.”

In addition, the two demanded that Mutodi should post an apology on Facebook and on at least two newspapers.

According to Mutodi’s post, the ministers planned the poisoning of Mnangagwa and made sure the poison they used would start working hours after being ingested.

He said this was done to confuse the public and make them think the VP had been poisoned at a rally held in Gwanda through an ice cream from Gushungo Dairy.

Machingura said this depicted that the health minister abused his specialist knowledge to pick a convenient poison.

According to the lawyer, Mutodi has huge audience on Facebook and, as such, his post reached a huge audience exceeding 15 000.

They wrote that the post was shared 18 times by other users further broadening the viewership of the post.

Meanwhile, Mutodi, who is also a musician, was this week arrested for posting falsehoods and was released Thursday on $200 bail.

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He is expected to be back in court on September 14.

Mutodi has other two criminal cases pending at Harare magistrate’s court, of fraud and undermining the authority of the President.

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