FORMER Zimbabwe senior national cricket team coach Heath Streak has filed a $1 million defamation lawsuit against Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board chairperson Tavengwa Mukuhlani.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Mukuhlani is accused of having implied, in his interviews with the media, that Streak picked the team along racial lines.
The administrator was yesterday served with summons by Streak’s lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa, the senior partner at Titan Law.
Mlotshwa said the statements were defamatory and defamed Streak’s reputation and standing. The two had a public fallout after Zimbabwe’s failure to qualify for the International Cricket Council World Cup, which saw Streak lose his job.
“The defendant knew fully well or ought to have known at the time he uttered the words that his words were baseless. His words were malicious and deliberately intended to tarnish the Plaintiff’s reputation,” Mlotshwa said.
“Further, the Defendant deliberately and maliciously failed to verify the accuracy and truthfulness of his wrongful and malicious utterances before dishing such words to journalists for the attention of the general public.
“. . . . as a result the defendant’s defamatory utterances and resultant publication thereof, the Plaintiff’s standing as a professional cricketer and a patriot has been diminished and soiled and soiled locally, regionally and internationally. His chances of getting employed elsewhere as a coach have been thwarted.
“By reason of the defamatory words, the Plaintiff has suffered damage to his name and reputation and in all has suffered damages in the combined amount of USD$1 000 000,” Mlotshwa said.
In addition to financial compensation Streak is also demanding an apology from the ZC boss to be published on the front page of the newspaper where Mukuhlani’s interview appeared.
Streak was dismissed as the coach of the national team last month and although he has challenged the legality of the dismissal, ZC yesterday began the process of hiring a new coach after calling for applications for the job.
In the aftermath of the dismissal, Mukuhlani had implied that some of Streak’s decisions were based on racism.
“Streak was the coach and selector, he was entitled to change the team as he found fit but the question is: why did he change the team in the manner that he did?” Mukuhlani told the media.
“The white players knew PJ Moor was going to play [against UAE], but none of the black players knew about it. Cephas Zhuwao was only informed [that he wouldn’t play] in the warm-up. Why didn’t Streak inform the entire team?” The board is saying what was the motive behind?
Streak had dismissed those allegations in the immediate aftermath of them being made, accusing the ZC chairman of “clutching at straws”.
He also said: “Anyone close to me knows I’m the least racist person ever.”
Streak later took to social media to once again reject allegations of racism, as well as accusing the ZC board of being unethical, treating people badly and lacking any cricket experience.