Zimbabwe: U.S.$100k Lawsuit Over Zanu-PF Spy Slur

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) national organiser Mr Michael Kandukutu has filed a lawsuit against a member of an NGO, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, to the tune of US$100 000 for defamation after being labelled a spy for the ruling Zanu PF at a trade unions capacitation meeting in Harare two months ago.

Mr Kandukutu is a steering committee member for the EU Capacitating Trade Unions towards decent work project, which has partnered ZCTU, EU, FES, LEDRIS and ZCIEA.

He was among the invited members to the meeting of the steering committee for the EU project held at the Foundation's offices in Harare on April 26 this year, when claims of him spying for Zanu PF were made by Ulrich Golaszink.

In his papers filed at the High Court, Mr Kandukutu claimed that during the meeting, Golaszink stated in the presence of his superior, Mr Japhet Moyo, and seven other trade union representatives that everyone in the meeting was aware of his pending court cases and that he was a spy and supplied information on FES to Zanu PF.

The other people who were present at the meeting were Fiona Magaya, Dr Godfrey Kanyenze, Naomi Chakanya, Emmaculate Moyo, Wisbon Malaya, Agatha Chabwinja, Orleen Chapisa and Thammary Chikomo.

Mr Kandukutu claims that Golaszinki's statements were defamatory.

"The statements were made with the intention to defame plaintiff (Mr Kandukutu) and to injure his reputation," reads part of the summons prepared by his legal counsel.

"The statements were understood by the addressees and were intended by defendant (Ulrich) to mean that plaintiff is not a law abiding citizen and that he is dishonest in that he has pending matters in courts.

"That plaintiff, as the ZCTU national organiser, cannot be trusted with the organisation's or any affiliated organisation's confidential issues.

"That plaintiff has a suspicious relationship with the political party Zanu PF, which is prejudicial to FES and ZCTU."

As a result of the defamation, Mr Kandukutu's reputation had been damaged and has suffered damages in the sum of US$100 000.

"Wherefore the plaintiff's claim as against the defendant is for payment of the sum of US$100 000 or RTGS equivalent at the prevailing interbank rate as at the date of issuing summons; being defamation damages suffered by plaintiff client at defendant's instance; and payment of legal costs of suit," reads the summons.

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