Social Media particularly WhatsApp circulated some ‘news’ that President Emmerson Mnangagwa went on his recent trip to South Africa as an ordinary passenger on Fly Africa. The Standard then carried an interview in which Minister of Transport, Joram Gumbo was quoted as having said the plane was actually chartered for $200 000.
Now in a twist of events, Fly Africa through their lawyers are demanding that The Standard retracts the $200 000 ‘claims’ among others. They are asking The Standard to issue an apology as well. Here are the contents of the letter:
LETTER OF DEMAND FOR RETRACTION OF EXTRACTS OF THE BIG INTERVIEW: “Why Mnangagwa used Fly Africa”.
1. We act for Nu Aero (Private) Limited, trading as Fly Africa.
2. Our client is mentioned in an article (Article) published by you on page 6 of your publication, The Standard in the 24 to 30 December edition. The Article has also been published on your website, (Website), at the URL since 24 December.
3. The Article contains the following statements that are untrue and potentially defamatory of our client:
3.1 That our client over charged the Government of Zimbabwe.
3.2 That our client is owned by foreigners ‘white people’.
3.3 Our client is idle and not very active.
4. The statements about our client are false and the true position is as follows:
4.1 Our client was never paid USD 200 000 (Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) to charter his Excellency the President and his delegates to the meetings in South Africa. To the contrary. Our clients quoted and were paid a standard ACMI rate of 2500 Per hour of flight time only and which was pegged at a minimum of 4 hours included in that was crew and allowances bringing it to a total of USD10 000 (Ten Thousand United States Dollars).
4.2 Our client is a 100% indigenously owned Zimbabwean Company with no “White” shareholders.
4.3 Our client is not idle as it is flying and providing lawfully fully commercial flight services to the Zimbabwean public and all else who require it, with the full endorsement of the parent minis, and regulator.
5. The Article has caused and is likely to cause our client serious harm and damage, to its brand, reputation and its business. This may financial harm. Our client is monitoring the impact of the Article.
6. It is critical is to mention that, the Article was printed without verifying the authenticity of the comments, remarks or allegations from our client. It is our view that your reporting failed to measure up to your policy of truthful, accurate and fair reporting. To this end we trust that you will proceed to apologize to our client, and publish a retraction of the false statements.
7. We hereby demand the following:
7.1 Removal of the Article from the Website.
7.2 Publication of a suitable apology:
7.2.1 in a prominent position in the next edition of The Standard and
7.2.2 in a prominent position on the Website for a period of at least  days, and thereafter archived indefinitely so that it remains searchable.
8. Please reply to this letter as a matter of urgency and in any case by 29 e meantime, our c reserves all its rights against
9. Our client does not believe that the Minister as our ultimate authority would have made or volunteered such wrongful, inaccurate and altogether _ scandalous untruths so for good order the Honourable Minster is coped herein