One of United Family International Church (Ufic) leaders has sued Zimpapers over allegations that he insinuated that the church’s leader Emmanuel Makandiwa gave a commitment to refund a Harare couple their tithes.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Ufic spokesperson, Prime Kufakunesu filed a $150 000 defamation lawsuit against Zimpapers and Sunday Mail investigations editor Brian Chitemba as well as the paper’s editor Mabasa Sasa.
He issued the summons on August 8, accusing Zimpapers of defaming him in a story published on June 11, 2017 titled Makandiwa vs millionaire couple, messy tussle over $1m: we were robbed, abused.
Kufakunesu, a full-time Ufic pastor, said the article was published at the instigation of Chitemba and Sasa.
The paper alleged that Kufakunesu had written to one Mrs Mashangwa on February 13 2017 promising to pay back her $1 million if she produced receipts of her tithes, offerings and other contributions made between 2011 and 2016.
“The article allegedly indicated that Kufa had written to one Mrs Mashangwa on February 13 2017 promising to pay her back if she produced receipts of her tithes, offerings and other contributions spanning between 2011 and 2016,” Kufakunesu said.
“The said words, in the context of the article, are wrongful and defamatory in that they were intended and were understood by readers of the newspaper to mean that plaintiff (Kufakunesu) is dishonest, unreliable, double-edged, a turncoat, a deserter, a plotter, a Judas, and one who acts outside his mandate to Ufic, his spiritual mentor Prophet Makandiwa and the generality of the congregants in the following respect.”
Kufakunesu said he was never mandated by the church, or its leader Makandiwa to engage the couple.
He said the story created a false impression that he was “a traitor, turncoat or a Judas to his church, spiritual mentor and congregants in general, which is not a fact.”
He said the paper had failed to retract the story despite a formal request to do so. All the respondents are yet to respond to the litigation.