By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
ZIFA have slapped Norton legislator Temba Mliswa and Harare City Council public relations official as well as social media blogger Hope Chizuzu with a combined lawsuit of $10 million for defaming the association’s leadership over a cocktail of unsubstantiated allegations.
In summons written by Ngaraya Moyo and Partners on Tuesday, Zifa said Mliswa on his Twitter handle and during a live broadcast of Punchlineafricatv uttered statements to the effect that the association’s president Felton Kamambo and acting vice-president Phillimon Machana abused US$750 000, which was meant to cater for the Warriors in Egypt during the on-going African Cup of Nations tournament.
“You stated that the money was diverted for personal use and that Zifa officials took their girlfriends to Egypt using money meant for the national team at the expense of the intended beneficiaries.
“These statements are defamatory per se in the sense that you are accusing our clients of theft and that they are not fit and proper people to hold public office as they abuse public funds. Further the statements are defamatory in that they mean that our clients are promiscuous people who engage in adulterous behaviour using public funds,” wrote the lawyers.
They said in making those statements, Mliswa knew that they were false in every material fact and that they are also injurious to the affected persons.
They demanded a retraction of the said statements through the same publication they were made with the same prominence.
“Failing which we are instructed to institute litigation claiming defamatory damages in the cumulative sum of ZW$4 million together with costs of suit on a legal practitioner to client scale and collection commission,” read the lawsuit.
Chizuzu, on the other hand, is being accused of writing through his Facebook wall “The Page” statements insinuating that the same Zifa officials embezzled funds from FIFA to the tune of US$740 000 after they were transferred from the ZIFA account.
“You further allege that our clients are facing either criminal prosecution or investigation over the issue of the funds. You further wrote and published an article wherein statements to the effect that our clients misled councillors on the true financial status of the association.
“You allege that the councillors were paid an amount of US$400 each so as to silence them from commenting or raising issues on the financial status of the association.
“In another article you also wrote and published statements to the effect that our clients abused funds that emanated from CAF which were meant to benefit the national men’s team’s participation at the AFCON finals in Egypt,” wrote the legal representatives.
They demanded that Chizuzu withdraws the statements through the same means of publication failure of which damages to the tune of $6 million will be claimed. The Chronicle