Hwende lawyers threaten to sue Sunday Mail over a defamatory article

Lawyers representing MDC Alliance Deputy Treasurer General and Kuwadzana East MP Chalton Hwende have written a letter to the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper giving them 10 days to issue a retraction and apology over a 3 February 2019 article their client considers to be defamatory.

Kuwadzana East MP Chalton Hwende (second left) being sworn into Parliament. (Picture by Brighton Chihwayi – Photo Phactory Zimbabwe)

In a letter of demand dated 7 February 2019, Atherstone & Cook said; “Without any provocation, The Sunday Mail refers to our client as a “garrulous parliamentarian”. That pejorative description of Honourable Hwende obviously lowers his character and dignity and cannot go unchallenged.”

“The article goes on to allege that the Constituency that our client represents in the Parliament of Zimbabwe, that is Kuwadzana East “was at the centre of the recent MDC Alliance organised violent riots.” This statement is inaccurate and defamatory on at least two fronts.”

The lawyers proceed to point out that “in the Kuwadzana East constituency, not a single shop was looted or destroyed during the recent national stayaway.”

Another paragraph in the Sunday Mail article claimed Hwende was “a known sponsor of the notorious Vanguard – the MDC’s paramilitary wing.” The words complained of “tend to lower Honourable Hwende as a person in the estimation of right thinking readers,” the lawyers argued.

Hwende’s lawyers have now given the newspaper 10 days in which they should publish an unconditional retraction, remove the article from the Sunday Mail website and then issue an apology and affirmation that the allegations it published are false and defamatory.

Hwende has been on holiday in Namibia with his family since the 20th of December, 2018. The protests in Zimbabwe against the fuel hikes took place in January 2019.

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