Midlands Bureau Chief
KWEKWE Town Clerk, Ngwena Musara, is demanding $75,000 defamation damages from Alpha Media Holdings, publishers of Southern Eye after the paper published a story alleging he earns $136,000 year. AMH are also the publishers of News Day, The Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard.
Musara’s lawyer, Jethro Nyarota of Wilmot and Bennett, stated in his letter of demand that AMH should pay Musara the sum of $75,000 as defamation damages within seven days.
Said Nyarota in his letter of demand: “Our client informs us that in your newspaper edition on the 30th of December 2013 you published or caused to be published an article with the heading :
“OUTRAGE OVER TOWN CLERK’S $136,000 ANNUAL SALARY.”
The article stated that Kwekwe councillors had tasked the Manpower and General Purpose Committee to streamline top managers’ salaries amid revelations that our client’s annual salary and perks stood at $136,000.00. Your reporter went on to state that the issue was debated during a full council meeting held the previous Friday.
Your reporter went further to give a breakdown of our client’s salary and perks. The article clearly stated and created an impression in right thinking and reasonable readers that our client’s salary is in excess of $136,000.00.”
Nyarota said the same article portrayed his client as a person who was “insensitive, extravagant and unprofessional” in that he was only interested in “putting ratepayers’ money into his pocket at the expense of service delivery”.
He said the article was not only inaccurate but patently false and fabricated. “It does not take a mathematics profession to pick up that the breakdown of our client’s salary and perks (given by your reporter) only adds up to just over $5,000.00 per month and $61,000.00 per year.
How your paper came up with $136,000.00 is baffling and mind boggling to say the least. It appears your paper only wanted to cast our client in bad light especially in the eyes of ratepayers,” said Nyarota.