The Herald (Harare)

14 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Makandiwa Sues Paper Over Kunonga Case

UNITED Family International Church founder Prophet Emmanuel Makandi-wa has filed a US$2 million lawsuit against Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe over a banner that linked him to the Anglican church saga.

ANZ, which publishes The Daily News, posted banners inscribed "Anglican saga sucks in Makandiwa" when the actual story had no mention of the name "Makandiwa".

The story only talked of banks that were listed as parties in a writ of execution obtained by the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa in a bid to evict Bishop Nolbert Kunonga's breakaway church from the Anglican properties.

In the summons filed yesterday at the High Court by Mr Nickiel Mushangwe of Mushangwe and Company, Prophet Makandiwa is claiming damages to the tune of US$2 million, plus interest.

According to Prophet Makandiwa, the poster linked him to acts of violence, infighting and internal church squabbles associated with the Anglican Church dispute.

The poster was also published on the online edition of the paper and on various Internet publications.

"The poster and online publications created the impression in the mind of a reasonable diligent reader that the plaintiff (Prophet Makandiwa) was involved in the controversial and sensational Anglican saga, which involved acts of violence, infighting and internal squabbles within opposing factions of the Anglican Church," read the declaration.

The poster, according to the lawyer, diminishes the esteem of the prophet in the eyes of the nation and the whole world since he is internationally recognised for his gift of preaching, healing and prophecy.

The prophet, according to the declaration, was viewed as someone stoking Christian factionalism in the Anglican Church while he was a respectable preacher and prophet of the word of God.

It is also contended that the newspaper, in a bid to maximise sales, sacrificed Prophet Makandiwa.

The Daily News made a retraction, which Prophet Makandiwa felt was half-hearted.

"After demand for a retraction and apology from the plaintiff, the defendant published a half-hearted apology.

"It was not a full, unconditional and unreserved withdrawal of all importations or imputations together with an expression of regret.

"The retraction was not given the same or greater prominence than the original defamatory statement.

"The online edition still bears the original story," read part of the declaration.

Meanwhile, three Chitungwiza residents Ms Sibambaniso Kundai, Mr Onismo Muzhingi and Mr Robert Tandi have sued UFIC for allegedly encroaching into their commercial stands in constructing its multi-million-dollar chapel in Chitungwiza.

The trio's lawyers, Matipano and Matimba Legal Practitioners filed the court case on December 7 this year at the High Court.

The three argue that their case was similar to that of Mr Tinashe Mutarise who recently got an order blocking construction of the property into his stand.

The three argue that they separately entered into lease agreements with the council and that while the agreements were still valid, the same land was sold to UFIC.

It is the trio's prayer that the agreement of sale between council and UFIC should be nullified.

The three also seek an order validating their respective lease agreements with the municipality.

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