Zwambila pleased with $133k defamation ruling

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s ex-ambassador to Australia has said she is pleased with the $133 000 she won in a defamation case against Reason Wafawarova who reported that she stripped in front of embassy staff.

Australia’s Supreme Court on Friday ordered Wafawarova to pay Jacqueline Zwambila $118 000 in general damages and

$14 847 in aggravated damages after he falsely claimed she had lost her temper and stripped to her underwear in front of three embassy officials.

Wafawarova was also ordered to pay Zwambila’s costs of the proceedings to date on a party-party basis.

A Canberra judge struck out the defence offered by the freelance journalist, who argued his report was true and in the public interest.

The Herald published the claims made about the ambassador, in November 2010, saying she had disrobed in front of three staff during a heated argument.

Some regard stripping naked as a traditional protest to shame an opponent, and the allegation would be seen by them to suggest that Zwambila was uncultured.

Zwambila, whose term as ambassador ended in December 2013 and is now seeking asylum in Australia, said the judgment was “a victory for all women politicians in Zimbabwe victimised with impunity by ruling party perpetrators with the sole purpose of denigrating the dignity of women in a country where there is no regard for the rule of law and no regard for the consequences.”

“It was never about the money but about the principle of the matter when something is wrong it is wrong,” Zwambila said.

“The fact that I could only find recourse in Australian courts and not my own country tells you that something is seriously wrong.

“This victory is for all of us women in opposition politics.”

Zwambila added that this disregard for the rule of law is evidenced on the Zimbabwe Canberra Embassy website which brazenly continues to display  their defamatory media statement against her in total disregard of the supreme law of the host country Australia, hiding behind diplomatic immunity.

Court papers say Wafawarova was motivated out of malice as an “agent of the President Robert Mugabe regime, which opposes (Zwambila) and her party’’.

The ambassador was a member of Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, and was appointed in 2009 under a power-sharing deal with Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Zwambila first demanded an apology and a retraction, and then took legal action when the newspaper and Wafawarova ignored her requests.

Represented by Canberra law firm Ben Aulich and Associates, she sought damages for “the particular shame she suffered, as a Zimbabwean national aware of her country’s cultural values and sexual mores, at being portrayed as she was’’.

“The plaintiff has been greatly injured in her credit, reputation, and profession as a diplomat, and has been brought into public scandal, odium, and contempt,’’ says a statement of claim filed in court.

Wafawarova tried to defend his reporting, arguing the allegations were true, an opinion, fair comment and in the public interest.

He also argued the circumstances of publication meant Zwambila was unlikely to sustain any harm.


Comments (3)

Career or

lovemore - 13 July 2015

Reason Wafawarova has shown himself again to be a serial liar. What is surprising is that the Government of Australia has not yet booted this lout out of his haven in Sydney for his incitement and terrorist activities. Not surprising is that the Herald (the clarion of all truths in Zimbabwe) has not yet exposed the truth of these matters. Of course Reason Wafawarova will not pay up his liabilities - a typical Zanu pf strategy

Shagger Jogi - 14 July 2015

why is she seeking asylum

Harare - 14 July 2015

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