By Staff Reporter
Dr Munyaradzi Kereke, an adviser to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, is suing The Standard newspaper over claims he raped his 11 year old niece last year.
In papers filed in the High Court last Thursday, Dr Kereke is demanding US$5 million in damages over two articles published by the newspaper headed “Rape Case Kereke Wants to Suppress” and an editorial write-up headed “Kereke must have his day in court”.
Kereke flatly denies the allegations, saying they were defamatory and driven by malice. Standard Press, Munn Marketing, the paper’s editor Nevanji Madanhire and the writer of the article, Caiphas Chimhete, are the defendants.
Kereke, who is being represented by Mr Tawanda Chitapi of Chitapi and Associates, also argues that the newspaper published the story without seeking his side. He said this deprived him of the right to be heard.
He further contests insinuations by the newspaper that he is an armed and dangerous criminal, a persecutor of innocent journalists and a threat to the rule of law. The lawsuit is the latest in a series of confrontations between Dr Kereke and the publication.
Two weeks ago Kereke enraged media groups by instigating the arrest of Standard editor Nevanji Madanhire and reporter Nqaba Matshazi, over a story claiming that his health insurance firm was about to collapse.
The two are facing a charge of stealing documents from Green Card Medical Aid Society. The medical aid society is also pursuing a parallel civil case, demanding US$2,5 million compensation.
Last month the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) cut ties with Kereke, over the role he played in the arrest of two journalists. Kereke’s Green Card Medical Society was a major sponsor of ZUJ. In the last two years the company also sponsored the National Journalistic and Media Awards (NJAMA).
While acknowledging Kereke’s immense role in financially backing the journalistic awards, ZUJ found his actions deplorable in the arrest of Madanhire and Matshazi and said they were left with no choice but to terminate their relationship.
Kereke was again the centre of controversy when NewsDay, a sister paper to The Standard, suspended their political editor Kelvin Jakachira, last month over allegations that he was given a ‘bribe’ by Kereke.
The paper is later reported to have lifted the suspension after they failed to substantiate allegations that Jakachira was given a Toyota Corolla vehicle by Kereke. Jakachira was able to produce all the documentation that proved he had bought the car with funds sourced from a local bank.
Last year in December it was alleged that Kereke raped an 11 year old girl at his home in the Vainona suburb of Harare. Despite medical and police records confirming this, he was never arrested.
Speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Question Time programme, Girl Child Network founder Betty Makoni last year said;
“He took a gun and pointed it to an 11 year old girl at 3 am, and this girl’s mother and father are not in the country. His wife is actually an auntie to this girl and it’s a big shame because the child trusted him.”
Makoni said medical investigations into the case showed the girl had indeed been raped and ‘right now she has locked herself in the house and is refusing to go to school since September.’ Makoni and her organization started a facebook and internet campaign to name and shame Dr Kereke.
In December 2009 Dr Kereke was one of 75 officials linked to the Mugabe regime who were placed on targeted travel and financial restrictions by the European Union, United States and Australian government. Nehanda Radio.com
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