Wicknell Chivayo fights $500,000 lawsuit over WhatsApp slurs
By Staff reporter | 04 Jun 2019 at 17:37hrs
Controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo is defending a $500,000 defamation lawsuit brought by a journalist.
The Sunday Mail's features and opinions editor Garikai Mazara is claiming damages from the businessman over WhatsApp messages left on his phone.
Chivayo, according to court papers, was angry over the publication of an article in the newspaper, whose import was that he had scammed the government in a $200 million tender to construct a 100 MW solar power plant in Gwanda.
In his summons, Mazara said Chivayo hurled insults and obscenities at him adding the businessman went on to comment on his profile picture, insinuating that the journalist was HIV positive.
Chivayo, through his lawyers, has filed papers at the High Court challenging the basis of the claim.
He wants Mazara to prove that he originated the said messages and also argues that as a journalist it is expected that the subjects of news stories sometimes respond and those responses should not give rise to lawsuits.
"Whilst plaintiff (Mazara) is put to the strict proof of message sent to him by defendant (Chivayo), it is averred that whatever messages defendant may have sent to plaintiff in anger and retaliation do not give rise to any actionable claim in the circumstances," Chivayo says in his court filing.
"Plaintiff is a professional who deals with members of the public on a regular basis, as such he is expected not to find a cause of action in any and every negative response to any of his articles."
The matter is set to be determined by Justice Helena Charewa at the Harare High Court.