Grace challenges $100K defamation lawsuit

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Former First Lady Grace Mugabe has entered an appearance to defend the $100 000 defamation lawsuit filed against her early this month by four small-scale gold miners whom she has clashed with over ownership of Smithfield Farm in Mazowe,

BY CHARLES LAITON

The small-scale miners, Shepherd Nyazvigo and Phillip Makanya filed the lawsuit against Grace on April 2 accusing her of labelling them illegal miners and thieves. They claimed the statement had caused their mining business to decline.

Grace is being represented by lawyers from Chivore Dzingirai Group of Lawyers.

“Be pleased to take notice that on April 24, 2018 the defendant (Grace) entered an appearance to defend in this matter. Further take notice that the defendant’s address for service is that of her undersigned legal practitioners of record. The summons was served on the defendant on April 20, 2018,” read part of the notice of appearance to defend.

Although Grace is yet to get into details of the matter, the two miners in their joint declaration said they were the registered owners of a mining syndicate called Mondo 4, situated in the gold-rich disputed Smithfield Farm.

The pair said on April 2, 2018, Grace told the media that the miners had invaded her farm and were unlawfully carrying out mining activities including destroying her citrus plantation.

“She (Grace) further alleges that the plaintiffs (Nyazvigo and Makanya) whom she referred to as illegal miners stole her property. The defendant (Grace) personally confronted the second plaintiff (Makanya) and in the presence of their employees she said that the second plaintiff is a thief who is stealing from her farm,” the miners said.

The two miners further said utterances by Grace and the resultant publication in the local newspaper portraying them as “lawlessness people who are involved in illegal mining activities” in her property and also damaging and destroying her lemon trees, had negatively impacted on their mining business.

“. . . The plaintiffs are now being viewed by their business associates, colleagues and members of the public and society at large as thieves and illegal miners and yet the plaintiffs hold licences to carry out mining operations thereon.”