Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, a lawyer based in Harare, has demanded an apology from journalist Hopewell Chin’ono for allegedly damaging his reputation through his post on Twitter.
Chinyoka has given Chin’ono an ultimatum of up to Monday to remove the post or be slapped with a US$50 0000 lawsuit for damages.
The tweet at the centre of the controversy is reported to have been posted on 29 April 2021 by Chin’ono on his Twitter handle. It read:
When @advocatemahere, @JobSikhala1 & myself were arrested, the world saw what it means to have a degree & yet be empty.
Zanu PF sent its surrogates like Bright Matonga, Obert Gutu & Tino Chinyoka to defend the use of a law that doesn’t exist. It was ignorance & stomach politics.
Matonga is a former Deputy Information Minister (ZANU PF), while Gutu recently defected to ZANU PF after resigning from the MDC-T in early 2020.
In his letter of demand sent to Chin’ono through Chinyoka’s lawyers, Gunje Legal Practise, the lawyer argued Chin’ono’s tweet was false and motivated by ‘cowardly malice’.
Chinyoka said Chin’ono had blocked him from his Twitter handle for the journalist to benefit from defaming him without his knowledge. The letter to Chin’ono reads in part:
You are well aware that our client is a legal practitioner practising as an advocate, as well as a qualified social worker and father, all of which are directly impacted by any suggestion that he is corrupt, greedy, ignorant, ‘empty’, or is otherwise unfit to be in the role that he occupies.
The contents of your publication are false and defamatory of our client in that they impute, and were intended by yourselves to impute, and were understood by the persons to whom they were published to impute, that our client, was corrupt, a person who sold his opinion to the highest bidder, an ignoramus and a corrupt person with no moral fibre and a person unfit to hold the office of a legal practitioner, who has been deployed by a political party to defend legally unsustainable and indefensible positions and therefore guilty of such unconscionable and despicable conduct unbecoming of an advocate…