Daniel Nemukuyu, Harare Bureau
Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) president and businessman Mr Phillip Chiyangwa is demanding payment of $1 million from The Standard Newspaper and its reporter Xolisani Ncube over a story published at the weekend insinuating that he is illegally stripping the football body of its properties.
The article titled “Chiyangwa dirty deals exposed” was published in the Standard edition of September 24, and according to the business mogul, it put him in bad light and that he suffered defamation damages to the tune of $1 million.
Mr Chiyangwa, through his lawyers Mutamangira & Associates, has written to The Standard demanding the money, failure of which, he will issue out summons.
In the letter of demand, the lawyers said the whole story was false and it damaged the reputation of Mr Chiyangwa, who is a public figure.
“Our client’s position is that the title and entire contents of your article were false, and patently defamatory and injurious to his name and standing,” said the lawyers. “The article created an impression that our client is involved in illicit, illegal, immoral and improper transactions.
“Further, the article presents our client as an untrustworthy, crooked, businessman and or leader, thereby engendering distrust, dislike and disdain for him in the eyes of reasonable members of the public and football stakeholders.”
The lawyers argued that by stating as a fact that Zifa was at the risk of being stripped of its assets, The Standard portrayed Mr Chiyangwa as a leader who was abusing his leadership position in football for personal gain, to the prejudice of Zifa and its creditors. To that end, Mr Chiyangwa said he lost business and suffered defamation damages.
“As a result of your conduct, our client has suffered damages in the sum of $1 million,” the lawyers said.
“We are instructed to demand payment of the full amount of $1million within the next three days, failing which we are under instruction to proceed, without any notification to you, and issue summons against you (Xolisani Ncube) in your personal capacity, Alpha Media Holdings in its capacity as the publisher of the newspaper and Munn Marketing (1992) Pvt Ltd in its capacity as the distributor of the newspaper.”