YOUTH and Empowerment Minister, Patrick Zhuwao, has threatened to sue the state-owned Herald newspaper and its foreign-based columnist, Reason Wafawarova, for allegedly tarnishing his image.
Zhuwao, also President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, took umbrage over Wafawarova’s article published in The Herald last Thursday titled ‘Zanu PF Unite or Perish’.
The minister has been linked to the so-called G40 Zanu PF faction which is said to be determined to stop Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa taking over from the 92-year-old Mugabe. G40 reportedly prefers Mugabe’s wife Grace.
The Zvimba North legislator and Zanu PF politburo member said Wafawarova’s article was “clearly calculated to injure and impair his dignity, reputation and his image in the eyes of all people who read them”.
“The statements were also grossly malicious,” he charged.
Australia-based Wafawarova claimed that higher education minister Jonathan Moyo was fulfilling what he once suggested; that the best way to destroy Zanu PF was “to do it from within”.
“Moyo has his allies in the political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Youth Minister Patrick Zhuwao and it seems the three are united by a shared distaste of VP Mnangagwa political career,” wrote Wafawarova.
“It is not clear if the motivation of the distaste is a shared one, but what is that the triumvirate has create disunity in the revolutionary party,” he added.
But in a letter addressed to Herald editor Ceaser Zvayi, Zimpapers group’s chief executive officer Pikirai Dekete and Wafawarova, Zhuwao’s lawyers said The Herald must issue a written apology within two days.
“Our instructions are to demand as we hereby do, that within forty-eight or alternatively in your publication of Wednesday the 24th of February 2016 you immediately issue a written apology and a full retraction of the grossly defamatory statements you have published,” wrote attorney Christopher Dube-Banda.
“The apology and retraction must be displayed prominently in your publication.
“The retraction may ameliorate the damages ours shall be claiming from your media institution, yourself and Mr Reason Wafawarova.”
The Youth Minister also urged all media institutions to “review their editorial policies”.
“I am humbly requesting and imploring upon all editors to exclude me from the divisive factional and successionist matrices of their editorial policies”.
Asked by NewZimbabwe.com how much he would demand in damages from The Herald, Zhuwao said that was a matter between his “lawyers, The Herald and Wafawarova”.
The minister called a press conference at the weekend to deny any association with G40.
This was after an irritated President Mugabe ordered the faction and its Lacoste rival which backs Munangagwa to “shut up!”
- New Zimbabwe