Charamba threatens Independent

HARARE – George Charamba, Robert Mugabe’s press secretary, has threatened to set the police on the privately owned Zimbabwe Independent and to seek crippling damages over stories linking him to Zanu (PF)’s su

ccession battles, MISA-Zimbabwe reports.

Six Zanu (PF) provincial leaders were suspended ahead of the party’s 2004 national congress after attending a meeting in Tsholotsho where they reportedly plotted to block Mugabe’s appointee, Joyce Mujuru, from becoming vice-president, backing instead Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Charamba was linked to the plot which received extensive media coverage, including a report in December 2004 in Bulawayo’s state-run Chronicle that he hired an aircraft for the meeting,

Charamba did not deny the Chronicle report at the time. But he has since denied playing any part in the plot. MISA-Zimbabwe said that his latest threats, through lawyers, are to back up his demands that the weekly newspaper issues a retraction of a March 10 story alleging he was involved in the Tsholotsho plot.

“Our client has also made a report to the police who are investigating the matter for possible crimen injuria (unlawful impairing of someone’s reputation),” said the lawyers’ letter to the Independent. Charamba also threatened to sue the paper for $15 billion (approx US$ 152 000) for defamation.

Contacted for comment by MISA-Zimbabwe, Vincent Kahiya, the Editor of the Independent, said the matter was subjudice and the newspaper’s always were looking into the issue.

The story alleges that Charamba drafted a speech for Mnangagwa and hired a plane for the meeting. Jonathan Moyo, ex-Information Minister and Charamba’s boss at the time of the Tsholotsho meeting, said Charamba wrote the Mnangagwa speech. – Own Correspondent

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