Harare – Former Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi, and the man behind faceless characters (Baba Jukwa & Mai Jukwa) that muddied Zimbabwe’s elections in 2013 is facing massive lawsuits over repeated online attacks of award winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
Chin’ono is suing the former journalist, together with another UK based former scribe over their continued posts on social media alleging that he is the person behind the popular social media whistleblower Matigary.
Chin’ono’s lawyers Mtetwa and Nyambirai are serving Edmund Kudzayi with summons next week in a case that will likely define how Zimbabweans interact with each other on social media.
Kudzayi’s allegation were retweeted to thousands of twitter users and were intended to damage Chin’ono’s reputation as a journalist of repute.
Chin’ono is a CNN African Journalist of the Year and a Harvard University Journalism Fellow.
He holds two Master of Arts degrees in International Journalism and Documentary Filmmaking from London’s City University and Brunel University respectively. He is also an African Leadership Institute Fellow at the University of Oxford.
He has worked with the BBC and ITV News as a news producer and made award-winning documentary films for international television.
Below is a statement issued by Chin’ono on his Facebook page this evening.
Communication is one of the most important tools in a democracy if it is used meaningfully and purposefully.
We do not have to agree in our perspectives, but it becomes dangerous when we have some amongst ourselves, who will use those communication tools and platforms to delegitimize, lie and unnecessarily taint people’s reputations.
There has been a long running whispering campaign against me that was rooted in lies and was being pushed by a failed journalist living in Oxford, England and another blogger who lives in Zimbabwe.
These campaigns have by and largely been motivated and driven by petty professional jealousies and political intolerance that is couched as genuine discourse.
Some of them are very retrogressively personal and toxic and are energised by people’s frustrations with their own personal lives and broken desires in pursuit of their journalistic careers that floundered.
Many of you have wondered why this Oxford man is so obsessed with my life and career as a journalist.
It shall all come out through the appropriate channels, as he will have his day in court to explain himself.
The other man, Edmund Kudzayi, attempted to taint, create and sustain a negative impression online about me.
These lies are meant to hurt my reputation as a journalist by posting lies on twitter and Facebook that create an impression that I am the driver behind the social media character called Matigary.
This of course is false, delusional and malicious but it is deliberately meant to tarnish my image as an award winning international journalist and filmmaker.
I have spent the last two days in consultation with my lawyers at Mtetwa and Nyambirai who have resolved that a letter of demand is useless, as all it does is to allow people to defame and slander and then withdraw their comments and yet the damage would have been done.
Consequently, my attorney Beatrice Mtetwa will be serving Edmund Kudzayi with summons after the weekend.
Edmund Kudzayi will have an opportunity in a court of law to explain and tell the court why he said these lies and why he continues to post them on twitter.
When this is resolved, my attorneys in London have agreed to represent me on a pro bono basis and get the Oxford man to have an opportunity in a British court to also explain why he defamed, slandered and continues to do so against me.
Compatriots, I will not hesitate to take anyone to court that maliciously tries to taint me by spreading scurrilous gossip and untruths online.
I have worked very hard to be where I am professionally and I will not allow even national borders to get in between the ability to clearing my name, through suing these toxic characters.
Zimbabweans can be very nasty and cruel, they will lie and attempt to destroy those that they feel professionally emasculated by.
There are many Zimbabweans whose lives have been destroyed by this culture of toxic hatred and online bullying. I will not be one of them.
Recently, the Oxford guy posted something insinuating that I am a fraudster and that I have acquired my properties through illegal means.
He has been leading this campaign since 2014 and I have collated the required evidence.
I am not a fugitive from British Justice and neither was I ever wanted for any crimes in Britain.
These cruel people have been on it for years to such an extent that the British Government through the local embassy had to issue a letter to that effect in May of 2011.
That is how low our people can go when they are pained by your progress and views. As I have said before, I will not be a victim.
I shall now give these men an opportunity to state their cases clearly in a court of law.
I will also not be stopped from commenting on national issues through such dirty tactics, they belong to a Stone Age era.
If you become envious, work hard and achieve that which you desire.
If you don’t agree with someone’s perspective, engage him or her in a respectful and dignified manner.
That is the Zimbabwe we all want not a country where lawlessness, petty jealousies and cruelty rule supreme!
I would like to thank Beatrice Mtetwa and Budwell Law of London for offering to represent me and help set a precedent so that no other Zimbabwean can be a victim of malicious attacks on social media ever again!