MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has filed a $2 million lawsuit against from former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko over comments the latter allegedly made insinuating that the former Premier played a part in the Gukurahundi massacres in the early 1980s.
In summons filed at the High Court on Monday, Tsvangirai said Mphoko must pay damages of $2 million with interest and costs of suit at an attorney-client rate.
“The claim arises from the publication of false, wrongful, defamatory and injurious statements that were spoken by the defendant against the plaintiff and subsequently flighted on ZBC-TV, published on online platforms and printed by various print media publications on February 4 and 5 and in the following days this year,” Tsvangirai said.
According to the summons, on February 4 this year, Mphoko addressed journalists in Bulawayo soon after meeting with the Zanu PF provincial leadership.
In his address, Mphoko alleged that Tsvangirai had participated in the commission of atrocities during the 1980s Gukurahundi era.
It is alleged Mphoko stated that Tsvangirai had been involved in an assassination attempt on the late Vice-President of Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo in Masvingo and the burning of villages in Tsholotsho.
Mphoko further alleged that Tsvangirai murdered a top police officer in Tsholotsho during the Gukurahundi era.
However, Tsvangirai dismissed the statements as malicious, defamatory and harmful because they implied that he was a cruel, murderous and evil person who would associate himself with and participate in the horrendous activities of the Gukurahundi period.
“The defendant had no right to fabricate the false statements, which are defamatory and highly injurious allegations against the plaintiff. As a result of the subject’s defamation, the plaintiff’s reputation has been damaged and has suffered damages in total of $2 million,” he said.
Mphoko’s lawyers from EN Mlotshwa and Company Legal Practitioners are yet to respond to the summons of demand. NewsDay