Ward 3 Councillor, Tinashe Kambarami, has threatened to slap defamation charges against the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) party for allegedly publishing statements accusing him of conniving with a senior council official to destroy Bulawayo.
He is also demanding half a million United States dollars from MRP as reparations for their “hurtful” statements that circulated widely.
Kambarami was recently reinstated back at the Bulawayo City Council as a councillor by the Bulawayo High Court after a three-year court battle where he was challenging his expulsion from office.
Through his lawyers, Masamvu and Da Silva-Gustavo Law Chambers, Kambarami noted that MRP posted on its online Facebook platform on August 21, 2022, named ‘Mthwakazi Republic Party – MRP Network – Information’, alleging he was conniving with the city’s Chamber Secretary, (Sikhangele Zhou) to bring Bulawayo to its knees.
“In the context of the post, this defamatory allegation was exacerbated by the shocking insinuation that our client is a ‘Shona vulture’ and is a ‘conduit of the Shona 1979 Grand plan and the code xxx by CCC which outline measures to Shonalise Bulawayo…,’” read a letter sent to MRP dated August 24, 2022.
The letter referenced ‘Defamation Proceedings: Tinashe Kambarami versus Mthwakazi Republic Party’ was served to MRP via electronic mail (e-mail) and WhatsApp.
Kambarami’s lawyers directed the political party to retract its statements and issue an immediate apology on its various online platforms including Facebook and Twitter.
Failure to make that retraction would result in Kambarami instituting legal proceedings against the party.
“The allegations were defamatory, hurtful, and were deliberately intended to humiliate our client as well as tarnish and undermine his reputation. The allegations are also to your knowledge, false. Your false publication is compounded by the fact that through releasing it on a public platform, you knew full well that the contents thereof would be widely read and or shared given our client’s high public profile,” said Kambarami’s lawyers.
The said publication was shared on Facebook about 15 times to other Facebook pages and also on various WhatsApp groups with one having over 500 participants, Kambarami’s lawyers noted.
“On the premises, our instructions are to afford you an opportunity to mitigate your unlawful conduct and provide an immediate apology and an unconditional retraction, which should be in writing and published on your various platforms including Facebook and Twitter,” read the letter.
“The retraction must be accompanied by a deletion of any reference to our client in the post complained of to the extent any such reference is not a common cause fact. Additionally, we require your written undertaking that you will refrain from making any further false, defamatory, or hurtful statements about or concerning our client.”
Kambarami’s lawyers stressed that MRP must make sure they deliver to them a written undertaking that they would comply with their directive within 24 hours of the party receiving their letter.
“Failing which, our client reserves the right to acquaint yourselves with the diverse legal proceedings,” said the ward 3 councillor’s legal counsel.
Whilst a public apology and retraction will go some way towards ameliorating the hurt and the assault on our client’s reputation and his dignity, our client also requires financial compensation in the form of damages.”
Kambarami’s lawyers also said their client had instructed them to demand US$500 000 from the party within 10 days.
“To this end, our instructions are to demand from you, as we hereby do, payment of the sum of United States $500 000 within ten (10) days of your receipt of this letter. Should this sum not be paid within the time prescribed, we have instructions to institute, against you, legal proceedings without further notice to you except as required by law,” read the letter.
“Our client’s rights remain strictly reserved. Be advised accordingly.”