Tanzania: Membe Defamation - Journalist Seeks Court Challenge

A JOURNALIST, Mr Cyprian Musiba, has resolved go to the Court of Appeal to challenge decision by the High Court in Dar es Salaam requiring him to pay 6bn/- damages to former Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Bernard Membe, for defamation.

Through Advocate Mafuru Mafuru, the self-styled activist Musiba and two other appellants have filed a notice of intention to appeal against the judgment issued by Judge Joaquine De-Mello on October 28, 2021, having been aggrieved by the findings.

"Take note that the appellants, being dissatisfied with the decision of Honourable Judge de-Mello given at Dar es Salaam on October 28, 2021 intend to appeal to the Court of Appeal of Tanzania against the whole of the said decision," read part of the notice of appeal dated November 4, 2021.

Other appellants in the appeal are an Editor of Tanzanite Newspaper and CZ Information and Media Consultant Limited, the Printers of Tanzanite Newspaper, while the respondent in the intended appeal is Mr Bernard Membe.

The appellants have, through a letter dated November 4, 2021, requested to be given copies of pro- ceedings, the judgment, decree as well as endorsed exhibits to enable them to process the appeal to the Court of Appeal.

"In the occasion the said copies are delayed to be supplied within the time limits, please supply us with a Certificate of Delay," they stated in the letter.

Such a certificate issued by the Registrar, excludes days in which the appellant is waiting before he is given the copy of proceedings.

Mr Membe, a diplomat, sued Mr Musiba in 2018, demanding over 10bn/-compensation after accusing the controversial journalist of disseminating false information that he said severely damaged his reputation.

Mr Musiba was alleged to have published stories through his Tanzanite newspaper suggesting that Mr Membe had mounted un- derground movement to sabotage former President John Magufuli, when he vied for 2020 presidency through the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM)'s ticket.

Apart from Musiba, other de- fendants in the case were the Editor of the Tanzanite Newspaper owned by Musiba, and Tanzania Informa- tion and Media Consultant Ltd.

In her judgment, Judge De- Mello said that she was satisfied that Mr Membe had proven defama- tion claims raised against him by the appellants.

The court has also permanently barred Musiba and other appellants from publishing false information against the former diplomat.

Few moments after delivery of the judgment, Mr Membe came out to the public and demanded Musiba wherever he was, to pay him the compensation, saying he was seriously destabilised by the publications made against him in the news- paper by the appellants.

"No Tanzanian is above the law, if you make mistakes by humiliating another person or doing any- thing inhumane... thinking that you will continue to shout and rejoice as if you have come to earth as a leader or like God, the High Court is the answer," the ex-minister was heard saying.

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