FORMER Zanu PF youth league deputy secretary Lewis Matutu has questioned the party’s secretary for administration Obert Mpofu’s Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PHD) qualifications and his source of wealth while responding to a $10 million defamation suit filed against him by the senior party official.
Mpofu initiated litigation against Matutu in June last year, after the former youth leader addressed a press conference at Zanu PF headquarters in which he accused the former Home Affairs minister of corruption.
However, in his response, Matutu demanded further particulars to Mpofu’s claim.
“To enable him to plead, defendant (Matutu) requests the following further particulars: On what basis is the plaintiff (Mpofu) referred to as a doctor, which institution conferred him with the doctorate degree, a confirmation of his credentials to this effect is requested?” Matutu queried.
Matutu further questioned who his audience was when he made the alleged defamatory statement and the line of business Mpofu was in as well as how he managed to raise capital for the business.
The former youth leader also asked Mpofu to divulge the number of businesses that he had before holding public office and the ones he acquired after holding public office.
Matutu also asked Mpofu to list the number of properties that he had in Zimbabwe, clearly separating the ones he acquired before and after holding public office, as well as explain how he managed to raise the funds to acquire the properties.
“What fame does the plaintiff have in the eyes of the public?” Matutu further queried.
In response, Mpofu said he was a Doctor of Philosophy in Policy Studies, which he obtained from the Zimbabwe Open University in 2011.
In relation to questions raised by Matutu over how he managed to acquire his properties, Mpofu said: “The particularity requested in all these paragraphs is not necessary for purposes of pleading.
The request is an inquisitorial foray calculated to abuse the procedure of requesting for further particulars. Further, and in any event, these are issues of evidence and the defendant is not handicapped from pleading,’ Mpofu charged.
Matutu, however, further demanded how and when Mpofu got to know about the alleged defamatory statement.
“What steps, if any, did the plaintiff take to have his position known with regards to the allegations before approaching the courts?” Matutu further questioned.
In his court papers, Mpofu said Matutu’s statements were defamatory in that he claimed that despite the country’s ample human and natural resources, corrupt individuals like the former Home Affairs minister were continually perpetuating “alarming socio-economic imbalances” and were undoing the gains brought by war of liberation heroes.
“The statement, in its defamatory, false and misleading allegations states the following about the plaintiff: that the plaintiff has violated the very foundation of the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe because of his corrupt proclivities, that the plaintiff’s corrupt inclinations continue to undermine socio-economic transformation in
Zimbabwe and, as a corollary, the defendant’s generation is suffering immensely,” Mpofu said in his court affidavit.