Kudzayi files response to Mahere, maintains adultery story factual
Journalist Edmund Kudzayi has filed his plea response to a High Court application in which Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) national spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere is suing him for US$100 000 for defamation.
This comes after Kudzayi wrote a story published on Kukurigo WhatsApp groups accusing Mahere of being in a sexual relationship with a married man, Harare-based businessman Tinashe Murapata.
The article further claimed that Murapata’s marriage broke up due to his affair with the opposition politician.
Kudzayi claims that his several tweets about the matter were part of developing the story in accordance with his journalistic duties.
“The tweet was part of a developing story on which the Defendant was working in the scope of his professional duties as a journalist. It is common cause that Defendant’s Twitter account is also a platform that he uses for engagement within the scope of his journalistic duties,” said Kudzayi through his lawyers from Sande Legal Practice.
The former Sunday Mail editor further accuses Mahere of failing to utilise an opportunity to respond when he approached her for her side of the story.
Kudzayi maintained that his story was factual and promised to release evidence accordingly.
“Moreover, Plaintiff and Defendant have communicated cordially before and Plaintiff has direct access to the Defendant via previous WhatsApp communication, but did not take advantage of the opportunity available to her to set the record straight even when given the opportunity to defend herself.
“This behaviour is not consistent with that of a person eager to protect and defend her reputation.
“Defendant abides by the position that the article is truthful and based on concrete evidence. The averment that Defendant confirmed that the allegations about the Plaintiff were false is strongly disputed, and she is put to the strictest proof in as far as that averment is concerned,” read the court papers.
Kudzayi said Mahere, who is represented by Honey & Blanckenberg legal practitioners, was a person of public interest and therefore could not flee public scrutiny.
“Plaintiff takes pride in the fact that she is a member of the legal profession and a top official of what she says is the main opposition party in Zimbabwe and the government in waiting. With such pride comes responsibility on her part, and with such prominence comes, as of necessity, scrutiny from the public.
“To the extent that Defendant invaded Plaintiff’s privacy, such invasion is reasonable and justified in the public interest. Plaintiff is a person who leads a public life and, most importantly, who seeks political power to govern.
“Plaintiff’s public standing increases demand for social transparency and such transparency enlarges the scope of the moral and social compass in so far as public figures are concerned.
“It follows that questions surrounding Plaintiff’s personal integrity and moral record hold unquestionable public importance and will always be an area of public interest,” Kudzayi said in his response.
The matter is yet to be heard.