Deputy Prime Minister sues newspaper over “Pregnancy Rumours”.

Harare, – Deputy Prime Minister Thozani Khupe is suing an independent Sunday newspaper for a whopping US$ 500 000 over a story which claimed she was heavily pregnant from a Harare businessman.\r\n

Court documents in possession of VOP indicate that Khupe is suing for defamation for the page- two story which appeared in The Standard newspaper on October 24. The paper is part of a newspaper empire owned by media mogul Trevor Ncube.

Lawyers representing Khupe delivered summons to the newspaper on 17 November 2010, advising them that the deputy premier was suing over the article entitled “DPM Khupe Dispels Pregnancy Rumours”.

The lawyers said the article, which claimed among other things that Khupe was expecting a fourth child and was seeing a Harare businessman, was defamatory. 

The paper also published a picture depicting that Khupe had a bulging stomach.

But the lawyers said it portrayed her as “a woman of loose morals, a reckless woman who engaged in unprotected sex and does not deserve the ambassadorial role she plays as President of the United Nations Aids Global Women Power Network for Africa and is not a fit and proper person to be Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Deputy President of the MDC- T, or a leader at all.”

“Alternatively, in the context of the article as a whole, the intention of the writer, editor, publisher, printer and distributor was to convey the innuendoes that the Plaintiff (Khupe) was a careless person, an embarrassment to her family, women, her party, the government and to Zimbabwe in general, that she was without moral fibre, was unfit for public office, she is reckless as she engages in unprotected sex and bad example to women folk.”

Her lawyers said Khupe was examined by an obstetrician and gynecologist who confirmed that there was no evidence of a recent or current pregnancy of the Deputy Prime Minister.

The lawyers added that on 27 October, three days after the offending article was published, they wrote to the publishers of The Standard demanding an apology but were rebuffed by the Editor who communicated over the telephone that “they would neither apologise nor retract the story".

“As a result of the defamation, the Plaintiff has been damaged in her reputation and has suffered damages in the sum of US$500 000,” reads part of the lawsuit.