Zimbabwe's vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa has threatened to sue political rival Jonathan Moyo for $3 million, as infighting within the ruling party hots up.
Mnangagwa has given Moyo, who is higher education minister, a week to retract recent claims, including one that the vice president crippled a prominent local broadcaster in a dispute over a woman 30 years ago.
Moyo reportedly made the claims during a video presentation at a politburo meeting in July. President Robert Mugabe himself made reference to the allegations at a rally in northern Zimbabwe earlier this month.
"We are instructed to demand that you retract the statements and offer an unqualified apology approved by our client, which shall be placed on a prominent page of all newspaper publications circulating in Zimbabwe," reads part of a letter sent by the VP's lawyers to Moyo.
The letter, quoted by the private Standard newspaper, gives Moyo seven days from September 22 to publish the apology.
"Our client reserves the right to approach the courts claiming damages for defamation caused by the video presentation of July 19 2017 and the continuing damage being caused by its continued online/internet publication," the letter adds.
According to numerous reports on the politburo presentation, Moyo accused Mnangagwa of forcing Godfrey Majonga, a prominent journalist, to choose between sitting on a red hot stove or jumping from his flat window in Harare in 1987. He claims Majonga chose to jump, permanently injuring his spine.
The vice president's lawyers say Moyo's presentation was full of "scurrilous, scandalous and fallacious allegations", according to the Standard.
'Truth and justice'
Mnangagwa is believed to lead a faction in Zanu-PF readying itself to take over in the event Mugabe dies or steps down. He is bitterly opposed by a group of younger officials reportedly aligned to First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Moyo told the Standard that he stood by his politburo presentation and "in the interest of truth and justice as well as in the public interest, I'm ready to meet VP Mnangagwa in court over this matter anytime".