Mugabe's Mega Rich Minister To Pay Damages To Top Civil Servant
The mining commissioner protested that the Umguza legislator told police graduates at a pass out parade at Ntabazinduna police training depot in Matabeleland province last year that he was going to recall
or transfer corrupt mining commissioners as they were scaring away potential investors and issuing claims for speculative purposes. Afterwards, the mining commissioner was served with a transfer letter
moving him from the mining town of Kadoma to Bulawayo amid accusations of arrogance and insubordination.
Manyange, who has been the mining commissioner for Kadoma since 1993 argued that Mpofu’s utterances were taken by his superiors and subordinates to be directed at him as he was the government employee
who was being transferred from his station to a new one.
In his defence, Mpofu argued that through his comments, he was merely expressing an opinion on the prevailing state of affairs in his ministry.
But in a ruling delivered recently, high court judge, Justice Bharat Patel ruled that Mpofu, who signs off his letters to President Robert Mugabe as “your ever obedient son”, injured Manyange’s name and
He however revised the quantum of damages sought by Manyange from $30 000 to $6 000. Mpofu was ordered to pay $2 000 to Manyange in damages while Malaba and Zimpapers will jointly pay $4 000 down from the $30
000 which the mining commissioners had lodged in his summons.
“As I read them, the articles taken together impute on the part of the plaintiff (Manyange) a proclivity towards corrupt behaviour, illegal activities, dishonest and unprofessional conduct and attempting to cover up illegalities. Such imputations are unquestionably defamatory in accordance with the applicable tests laid down by the courts……..The unavoidable conclusion, as I have found earlier, is that the
cumulative effect of the impugned articles was to identify theplaintiff as a corrupt official and to injure him in his name and reputation,” reads part of Justice Patel’s judgment.
Justice Patel ruled that although Mpofu did not directly identified Manyange, who is one of a handful of mining commissioners in the country by name when he uttered his statements alleging corruption among his subordinates, he was nonetheless “indirectly reckless.”
The Judge said Malaba was more culpable in defaming the mining commissioner as he did not invite Manyange to comment on the allegations levelled against him before publishing the defamatory
stories as would be expected of a professional journalist.
“That being so, it would be proper and fitting to apportion the damages to be awarded, as between the 1st defendant (Mpofu) on the one hand and the 2nd and 3rd defendants on the other, so as to reflect their respective degrees of culpability,” Justice Patel said in his 16-page judgment.