HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was yesterday dragged to court over allegations that he accused a senior military officer of having been a key player behind the political violence that rocked the country during the 2008 elections.
In the High Court defamation lawsuit, army colonel Christopher Mayoyo is demanding $500 000 from the MDC leader over the allegations that he incited violence in Zaka, Masvingo in the discredited presidential run-off of the hotly disputed 2008 elections.
The MDC claims that hundreds of its supporters were killed in the violence that preceded the presidential run-off, which Tsvangirai boycotted saying that he could not “step over dead bodies to get into power”.
In his defence, Tsvangirai says he only re-stated what the victims of the violence had relayed to him, while Mayoyo is arguing that the former prime minister in the government of national unity had dragged his name in the mud.
Tsvangirai and Mayoyo appeared in court yesterday where Justice Amy Tsanga postponed the case to July 14 this year.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, said yesterday that it was not in dispute that following his stunning defeat by Tsvangirai in 2008, President Robert Mugabe had allegedly unleashed the army on innocent Zimbabweans for daring to vote for change.
“Over 200 people were killed in the violence. Only recently, former Zanu PF provincial Affairs minister for Masvingo, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, revealed the names of senior army personnel deployed in the provinces to brutalise innocent Zimbabweans in 2008,” he said.
In his expose, Bhasikiti claimed that Mugabe — who is the commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces — deployed members of the army to wage a violent campaign against Tsvangirai and his supporters during that election.