Mashingaidze, Rushwaya case taken to Supreme Court

HARARE - Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze’s application to have his defamation case referred to the Supreme Court was Thursday granted by a Harare magistrate.

Mashingaidze was brought before the courts by his predecessor Henrietta Rushwaya, who is accusing him of defaming her for utterances publicised in the media insinuating she had corrupted two national team players, Ovidy Karuru and Knowledge Musona, to throw two World Cup qualifiers against Guinea and Mozambique last year.

The Warriors lost 1-0 at home to Guinea before drawing nil-all with Mozambique in Maputo.

Magistrate Arnold Maburo ruled that Mashingaidze’s application was neither “frivolous nor vexatious” and agreed to have the Constitutional Court determine his fate.

Mashingaidze is being represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri and Ralph Maganga.

Allegations are that on June 12 last year, Warriors players Karuru and Musona were spotted by Mashingaidze leaving the business premises of Rushwaya in downtown Harare.

Rushwaya is widely seen as the chief mastermind of Zimbabwe’s match-fixing scam – known worldwide as Asiagate – in which local players and officials were paid sums of money between 2007 and 2009 to lose several invitational matches by predetermined scores in the Far East for betting purposes.  

Karuru had reportedly gone to Rushwaya’s offices in the company of teammate and friend Musona to get quotations of gold detectors sold by Rushwaya’s company.

As the two were about to leave, they were spotted by Mashingaidze, who was driving past in the company of Warriors team doctor Nick Munyonga.  

It is allegedly Mashingaidze later issued press releases accusing the pair of fixing the two World Cup qualifiers in cahoots with Rushwaya.

The state alleges that the information was also widely publicised and circulated on the internet and social media networks and that the utterances were malicious and aimed at tainting Rushwaya’s reputation. 

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