FORMER First Lady Grace Mugabe, who is embroiled in a land dispute with small-scale gold miners in Mazowe, has been taken to court by the miners who are demanding $100 000 for defamation of character compensation.
Shepherd Nyazvigo and Phillip Makanya issued summons against Mugabe on Wednesday this week and the ex-First Lady was yet to respond to the litigation.
In their joint declaration Nyazvigo and Makanya said they were the registered owners of a certain mining syndicate being Mondo 4, situated in Smithfield Farm.
According to the court papers, Makanya is Nyazvigo’s partner by virtue of a power of attorney.
The two men said on April 2, 2018 Mugabe uttered words and caused to be publicised in the local paper that they were illegal miners who had invaded her farm and were unlawfully carrying mining operations thereon and also destroying her lemon fruit trees.
“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 utterances by the defendant and the resultant publication in the local newspaper portraying the plaintiffs as lawlessness people who are involved in illegal mining activities in the defendant’s property and also damaging and destroying the defendant’s property including the lemon trees,” the miners said had negatively impacted on their business.
“Further the defendant alleges the plaintiffs as untrustworthy people and thieves who are stealing the property belonging to the defendant. 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.”
The two miners said they had suffered damages in their character as a result of the utterances by Grace which were publicised in the local paper.
“Wherefore plaintiff’s claim against defendant is for; defamation of character damages in the sum of $100 000, interest thereon calculated at the prescribed rate of 5% per annum from the date of summons to date of judgment and cost of suit,” they said.