Whores lists illegal

December 11 cover

HARARE – People who are behind the compilation of the controversial lists circulating of famous people in the capital, naming them as promiscuous risk being sued for defamation, legal experts have revealed.

The list which has top musicians, music promoters, top business people, socialites, media practitioners and bankers is circulating on social networks, WhatsApp and caused a stir on Facebook and Twitter. “The only possible implication is that the person who is behind the lists he or she can be sued for defamation. That information (on the lists) is very damaging, very damaging to one’s character, to one’s social standing and one’s reputation. There is no doubt about that.

“So the information being circulated is defamatory, I don’t see them raising any defence saying its truth or is of interest.
“One can raise a defence by saying it’s for public interest but these people are not holders of public offices, whilst people who are prominent are subject to public scrutiny and a fair comment, you can raise a defence of a fair comment in respect of those people to say it’s a fair comment.

“And in any event the public are supposed to know what their leaders are doing but these are not leaders, these people are socialites, business people, but yes some of them the likes of (name withheld), maybe one or two you can say they are prominent, but really, I don’t see that defence applying.

“The lists talk about their private lives and there is no evidence to substantiate that, unless they are able to prove that it is true and it’s really a fair comment, then they can be exempted but in my view, whatever is circulating is defamatory and they are liable for civil defamation,” revealed lawyer Everson Chatambudza.

His sentiments were also echoed by another lawyer who however requested anonymity and he said “those lists are very defamatory in their nature. If you communicate anything that is defamatory to a third party about another and to another, you are liable to defamation.

“And the court may order you to pay damages as demanded by the person whose reputation may be injured or as determined by the courts in the trial.

“But obviously there are several defences that a person can raise for example truth, the truthful of those claims. For example those who are alleging something that is defamatory can defend themselves that that is the truth, or that is in the public interest and the public has the right to access such information.

“But by its nature if you allege someone is a whore or is promiscuous, yet you have no proof to that effect or you have no proof of the truthfulness then you are liable in delict for defamatory. “It is not criminal law but civil law but it punishes people for making scandalous allegations,” added the legal expert.

Musindo Hungwe revealed that “the lists and their contents are potentially defamatory and as such if the authors and circulators of the list could be identified this would expose them to civil lawsuits for damages for defamation of character. “This is of course assuming that the information contained therein is untrue bearing in mind that truth for public interest is a complete defence to a defamation lawsuit.”

Dumisani Mthombeni also said that the compilers of the lists risk being sued for defamation but the problem someone cannot claim to be the only person with a certain name in the world.

“So one cannot surely claim kuti ndini ndairehwa. That will be the challenge. Still name and surname can be the same.” One male lawyer who requested anonymity added his voice saying “haisi mhosva iyo, but kungoti it becomes civil suit on defamation, hakusisina criminal defamation ka.

“But pakati defamation apoo you will have to over emphasise kuti it is circulating on the internet it’s already in the public domain. So it’s not like you are authoring it all together you are reporting on what is there already.

“In the case of the person who would have authored, there is nothing criminal saka no dhiri. Police can’t get involved ka because there aren’t any criminal connotations. At worst its defamation.”

One female lawyer revealed that in the case of a media organisation using such information solely relying on a WhatsApp as the source “then you might have to get another source, for example the person who authored it to verify, or you specifically mention that the list is from a WhatsApp circulation otherwise you might expose yourself to defamation charges.

“On the other hand the police will have to investigate first before arresting but they cannot use the article as evidence, it would be hearsay. “They can only use it as a tip off upon which they investigate or lay a trap.” Dambudzo Machaya also added that one can sue for civil defamation like in the case of those who are in politics.

“Such kind of information circulating is not good for their reputation as they represent people. “And also people have the right to privacy, like how the other list talks of people who are HIV positive, it is someone’s private information. “That is why you see people who disclose their status do so out of their own will.”

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34 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. amnesia December 16, 2014 at 1:12 am - Reply

    If the allegations turn out to be true, no defamation suit stands- that's just standard interpretation of the law. In Zimbabwe though, given the caprice with which the law is applied- especially regarding the political masters, someone will be sued.

    • Mabasa January 16, 2017 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      How can you claim to have your character defamed, when the said claimant has no reputation to protect?

  2. amnesia December 16, 2014 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Further, in open societies, scandalous revelations by journalists and ordinary folks do not invite umbrage; rather, the big wigs resign from their offices and proffer profuse apologies in an attempt to rehabilitate themselves. For a politician, any scandals of that nature spell disaster. As a matter of fact, politicians are or should be held to a higher standard thus any pecadillos are ruinous, and the public has a right to know what their representatives are up to- and with whom

  3. barnaz December 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    list racho handisati ndariona showing haisi viral

    • demba March 27, 2015 at 10:17 am - Reply

      give me your number ndikutumire

      • Jonga November 14, 2016 at 6:04 am - Reply

        0785021636 send list

      • colmat February 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm - Reply

        0717987021

      • Funky February 4, 2017 at 8:39 am - Reply

        0773344362

      • SVOSVE September 5, 2017 at 8:22 am - Reply

        0773226275

      • Java_Beans January 11, 2018 at 6:22 pm - Reply
      • Cr-Kun April 19, 2018 at 9:34 am - Reply

        0782827820 send list

        • Cr-Kun April 19, 2018 at 9:35 am - Reply

          0783827820 send list

      • Jedza May 17, 2018 at 6:25 am - Reply

        +22397342217

    • j t October 31, 2016 at 7:33 am - Reply

      0772864002 sent list

    • leadmore magomo November 11, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      zvausina aids does it mean haisi viral

  4. Shonah dickens December 20, 2014 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Haven’t seen this list:
    where on the internet is this list

  5. open February 17, 2015 at 8:01 am - Reply

    just produce list

  6. ghost February 18, 2015 at 7:02 am - Reply

    its nthng coz thez no list

  7. Tira February 20, 2015 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    wherez di list

  8. nyanga March 6, 2015 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    ha MXM TIPEI LIST ! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  9. Madhara madhra March 24, 2015 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    TIPEI LIST RACHO PAMWE TIRIPO.

  10. charu July 24, 2016 at 9:35 am - Reply

    where z da list

  11. general September 12, 2016 at 7:23 am - Reply

    kkkkkk lt them give us the list totangira ipapo

  12. FORTY-EIGHT October 26, 2016 at 9:10 am - Reply

    PLEASE REMOVE ME FROM THAT LIST I AINT ONE OF THEM OTHERWISE HOKOYO NENI

  13. Funky February 4, 2017 at 8:40 am - Reply

    list isai pliz vana vedu vazive their role model in society

  14. faty February 19, 2017 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    Hie H metro pliz note that Dr Annah is not a good doctor she is a crook she stoles my money thru fake commands and assertions.i hope if u ban her posts on yo paper it wil be good for zimbabweans.Anonymous

  15. shakira wema.... May 11, 2017 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    list list tipeio pamwe ndiripowo

  16. Cypstar July 17, 2017 at 7:15 am - Reply

    Hw ar u

  17. chari July 24, 2017 at 8:32 am - Reply

    remove those names,you as a parent should be a role model for your child, not to copy someone, you doesn't know or related to, teach your children about that.

  18. jualan terbaru September 19, 2017 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    saya sangat berterimakasih dengan informasi yang diberikan, mudah dipahami.
    Terimakasih.

  19. dollar March 15, 2018 at 6:59 am - Reply

    0772662282

  20. carol james May 30, 2018 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    list reiko nhai varume. Mapeche!!!!!!

    • bullet June 7, 2018 at 12:32 pm - Reply

      regrocery reroora

  21. Max Moyo August 17, 2018 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    is taso on the list

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