A Zimbabwean lawyer has dismissed as false and defamatory claims by Gweru-based legal practitioner Brian Dube that he was shoved and threatened while in court representing a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lawmaker and others facing charges of inciting violence in the January public protests over the high cost of living.
Tinomudaishe Chinyoka says he never physically attacked Dube and as a result of the latter’s claims, he is now demanding over $2,7 million in damages for defamation.
Chinyoka claims that “nothing happened as he sat in front of me (in court). I noticed that he had put an improper statement in a court document and I asked why he did that without consulting me. He said who are you and I said well you will know me, meaning he will know me in 2023 because I’m planning to run against him. I then left.”
Chinyoka claims that he was later approached by the police who arrested him for allegedly shoving and threatening another legal practitioner in court.
“I did not touch the boy. I did not threaten the boy. I don’t need to threaten the boy. He lied that he does not know me yet we go to the same church when I am in Gweru.”
Chinyoka says he was not inspired by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s remarks last Saturday that his government will deal ruthlessly with doctors and lawyers who promised to take care of people who wanted to participate in the protests that left at least 12 people dead and thousands displaced and behind bars.
In his lawsuit, Chinyoka claims that Dube’s email sent to the Law Society of Zimbabwe about their said encounter was defamatory.
“The contents of the email are false and defamatory of the plaintiff in that they impute, and were intended by the defendant to impute, and were understood by the persons to whom it was published to impute, that plaintiff, though a legal practitioner practicing as an advocate, was brute, a rogue, a bully and a criminal with no moral fibre and a person unfit to hold the office of a legal practitioner, who used connections with politicians to break the law and thereby guilty of such unconscionable and despicable conduct unbecoming of a legal practitioner.”
He says, “The plaintiff has, because of the defamation, been damaged in his reputation and has suffered damages in the sum of US$308,083.00.”
Chinyoka says Dube’s allegations are false and designed to go viral on social media. “Plaintiff has suffered and or will suffer damages as a result of the false representations through loss of business. The false representations are the cause of the loss of business … As a result the defendant’s injurious falsehoods, plaintiff has suffered and or will suffer damages in the sum of $2,460,010.00.”
He is being represented by Gunje Legal Practice of Harare.
Dube claimed that on Monday at the Gweru Magistrates Court and in Court Number Three, while the bar was awaiting to represent a client in a trial, he was attacked by Chinyoka.
“He charges towards me from the back and assaulted me by pressing me hard on my right collar bone with force and I felt pain. He proceeded to threaten that he will deal with me with unspecified action for allegedly pissing me off. When the court adjourned, the same Tinomudaishe Chinyoka approached me and continued with same threats and bragging that he was powerful and connected and was going to deal with me.”
According to Dube, Chinyoka is “currently deployed to monitor on behalf of the party (Zanu PF) to which he belongs the lawyers who are dealing with cases of the alleged national shutdown.
“The same person is cited in my clients’ defence as the one coordinating and coaching witnesses in Midlands against opposition members. I feel violated, and professionally interfered with, I am now working under fear and this seriously affects my independence in doing my professional work.”
The court case is scheduled for Friday.