By Daniel Nemukuyu
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has filed a $7 million defamation suit against Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd and five of its journalists over stories implicating him in the alleged Chishawasha B stands saga.
Minister Kasukuwere, who is also Zanu PF national political commissar, contends that the stories published in The Herald and The Sunday Mail editions were false and highly defamatory of him.
To that end, the minister listed as defendants The Herald editor Caesar Zvayi and The Sunday Mail editor Mabasa Sasa.
He also cited three Herald writers, Felex Share, Tendai Mugabe and Praise Bvumbamera, as defendants in the $7 million suit filed by his lawyers Chambati, Mataka and Makonese Attorneys at Law.
The first article complained of, was published in The Sunday Mail edition of September 4, 2016 and it was titled “Spotlight on housing allocation graft”.
Minister Kasukuwere says the article insinuated that he had irregularly allocated tracts of land reserved for the ruling party youths in Chishawasha to Planet Africa, a company linked to Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Prophet Walter Magaya.
He described the article as false, misleading and defamatory.
Minister Kasukuwere also took issue with another article published in The Herald headlined “President grills Kasukuwere”.
The article, authored by Share, insinuated that the politician was taken to task by President Mugabe over the alleged sale of land earmarked for youths housing projects in Chishawasha B area, Norton and Harare South to Prophet Magaya.
On September 12 this year, The Herald reporters Mugabe and Bvumbamera wrote a story titled “Stands saga turns nasty”, which the minister contends was an attack on his person.
The article was based on a violence story of one of the alleged beneficiaries of the non-procedural land allocation, Innocent Hamandishe who was allegedly assaulted by party youths in Chitungwiza over the stands saga.
On November 1 this year, The Herald carried a story headlined “Youths to vacate Norton Farm”, which the minister said, insinuated that he wanted to take away 161 hectares of land belonging to Maparahwe Properties Private Limited in Norton.
Minister Kasukuwere also complaints of another story that appeared in The Sunday Mail edition of November 6 this year tiled “Zacc probes Kasukuwere over stands”.
The story communicated that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission was investigating Minister Kasukuwere over the stands saga and that sources indicated that his arrest over the alleged unlawful conduct was imminent.
Minister Kasukuwere said the articles portrayed him as a dishonest Government official who parcelled out public land to his cronies and relatives.
On the alleged sale of land to Magaya, Minister Kasukuwere said, he was portrayed as a corrupt politician who irregularly sold land to Prophet Magaya for personal gain.
Zimpapers and its journalists are yet to respond to the lawsuit.