Harare Doctor Sued US$100k
Claimant cites Defamatory Tweets
A Harare medical doctor, Leon Gwaunza, has been sued for US$100,000 over defamatory statements posted on social media questioning his supervisor Andrew Mataruse’s qualifications.
Gwaunza has been ordered to withdraw the statements he made against Mataruse in a letter served to him by the latter’s lawyers, last week. According to the document, his averments affected Mataruse’s business and client base.
“Our client advises us that on or about 8 July, 2021 you wrote a letter to the Registrar of the Medical and Dental Profession Council of Zimbabwe (herein after called “the MDPCZ”) wherein you questioned our client’s neurology qualifications and called them dubious. We are further advised that you made serious allegations that our client is an imposter, who was misrepresenting to the generality of patients and colleagues in the medical fraternity, that he is a neurologist.
In essence, you maliciously and falsely claimed that our client is a fraudster in circumstances where you knew very well that our client is adequately qualified to be called a neurologist. The above statements are not only defamatory and untrue, but same are very malicious.
Further, you have reiterated your defamatory remarks through your Twitter handle, @lgwaunza, in particular, on 20th August, 2021 wherein you seriously quizzed our client’s qualifications and demeaned his ability to practice as a neurologist. The widely published tweets that you posted have global reach and they have seriously damaged his major asset which is goodwill and trading brand.”
Mataruse supervised Gwaunza when he sought to be a specialist. According to the letter, Mataruse further attained a qualification of Fellow of European Board of Neurology from the European Board of Neurology (EBN) in July 2021 and these were submitted for registration with MDPCZ.
. . .our instructions are to demand, as we hereby do, the publication of a full, unconditional and unreserved withdrawal of these defamatory statements and the related imputations together with an expression of regret on the same within forty eight (48) hours of receiving this letter as well as a letter of regret to the MDPCZ Council withdrawing all the allegations you have raised against him.
Additionally, our client demands the payment of US$100,000.00 as damages for defamation within five days of this letter. In the event that you fail to retract the defamatory statements and pay the sum of US$100,000.00 as demanded, our client shall proceed to issue summons and claim damages for defamation without any further notice to you.”