Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Kinana's Sh350 Million Defamation Case Fate On December 30

THE outcome of a defamation suit lodged by Secretary General of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Mr Abdulrahman Kinana, against Iringa Urban Member of Parliament, Rev Peter Msigwa, over the payment of 350m/- in damages, will be known on December 30.

In the suit lodged at the High Court in Dar es Salaam, Mr Kinana is demanding the said amount in damages from the opposition lawmaker for allegedly calling him an elephant poacher.

Judge Zainabu Mruke is expected to deliver a ruling after going through the submissions presented by the parties on some grounds of preliminary objections raised by the MP from Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), seeking dismissal of the suit in question.

In his written statement of defence filed at the High Court's Dar es Salaam District Registry by advocate Peter Kibatala, for the MP, apart from denying all the claims advanced by the CCM leader, the opposition legislator also filed objections to hearing of the case.

Rev Msigwa advanced five grounds of objection, stating that the suit was incompetent in law because the court lacks pecuniary jurisdiction to try the matter and that the case was filed contrary to High Court Registries Rules, as the cause of action allegedly arose in Mwanza.

"The suit is incompetent in law in that the plaintiff (Kinana) has not pleaded any special facts that give the words complained of the alleged innuendo meaning," one of the grounds reads.

He also states that the case was incompetent because the plaintiff has not pleased any special knowledge possessed by those to whom the words were published which gives the words the alleged innuendo meaning.

In the suit, Rev. Msigwa, who is the defendant, is alleged to have accused Mr Kinana of being an elephant poacher and a criminal dealer in ivory, including illegal transport and export of ivory.

Through his advocate, Mr Eric Ng'maryo, the CCM boss is also requesting the court to order the opposition legislator to pay other damages to be assessed by the court, interest at the court rate from the date of delivery of judgment to the payment of a decretal amount in full and costs of the suit.

Mr Kinana is also seeking orders of the court to direct the MP to publish apologies in two daily English newspapers and two other Kiswahili tabloids and retract the claims involved.

Furthermore, Kinana wants Msigwa restrained permanently from publishing such defamatory remarks against him. It is alleged that Rev. Msingwa, who is also shadow Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, defamed Mr Kinana on various occasions and at various places, in and outside Parliament, notably at a public rally held at Nyamagana playgrounds in Mwanza City on April 21, this year.

During the meeting in question, Rev. Msigwa is alleged to have said that "Kinana (naomba waandishi wa habari mnikisie na nyie Usalama wa Taifa mkapeleke habari) hana sifa za kupita barabarani na kuwaambia Watanzania waiamini CCM. Kinana mikono yake si misafi."

He was also reported to have said, "Hata kwenye Nasaco, Shirika la Meli Tanzania, kuna harufu ya ufisadi ndani yake; ajibu hoja...Kinana meli zake ndizo zinazohusika kubeba mapembe nchi hii. Hajajibu hoja hizo! Kwa siku nchi hii tembo sitini na saba wanauawa..".

Rev. Msigwa is alleged to have gone on: "Hao ndio wanaokifadhili Chama Cha Mapinduzi wakina Kinana halafu wanakuja eti kuwashawishi Watanzania muwasikilize na kwamba Chama Cha Mapinduzi eti ni kizuri." He allegedly added: "

Halafu leo tukikaa ndani ya Bunge tunapojaribu kuwatetea wananchi tumeacha majimbo yetu. Haya mambo ninayoongea ni hatari kwa sababu haya yote ni majangili, ni organized crime."

Thereafter, it is alleged that Rev. Msigwa reiterated similar claims in the National Assembly when tabling the Opposition speech when debating budget estimates for the ministry's 2013/2014 financial year.

Mr Kinana contends that the alleged false and defamatory statements have disparaged him and lowered him in the estimation of right-thinking people, as the alleged defamatory utterances continue to be read and will permanently remain on record in various sources of information.

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