False Tsvangirai Romance Story Backfires

The United States government has moved to control the damage caused by the publication of false allegations on a site controlled by Tendai Biti’s backers claiming that Movement for Democratic Change president Morgan Tsvangirai is romantically involved with one of his leading shadow ministers, NOW DAILY can exclusively reveal.
Facebook has since removed a “profile picture” of Tsvangirai posing officially at Harvest House with Midlands Senator and shadow Home Affairs Minister Lilian Timveos, the subject of the misinformation.
A senior U.S. government official confirmed on Wednesday that they have “spoken to the faction leader”, warning him about the activities of Radio Chokwadi, a U.S. government-funded site run by backers of the disgraced MDC secretary-general Biti. The official all but confirmed that Biti and his colleagues were getting U.S. support to destroy the MDC from within.
According to diplomatic sources, several Western governments are opposed to Tsvangirai coming to power in Zimbabwe as they fear his trade union roots could upset foreign firms underpaying their employees and looting the country’s resources.
Timveos told NOW DAILY exclusively Thursday that an official from the U.S. government had discussed the matter with her on Wednesday, but would not give details. However, she said she planned legal action against Facebook and the perpetrators of the “shameless” hate site and would also write to U.S. president Barrack Obama complaining about violations of official U.S. policy by diplomats in Harare.
U.S. ambassador David Bruce Wharton declared when he came to Zimbabwe that he wanted to “normalize” relations with dictator Robert Mugabe. Critics say this appeasement of the 90-year-old despot is coming at the expense of democracy, human rights and freedom, the reason why the U.S. Senate passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act placing Mugabe and the Zanu PF regime under decade-long sanctions.
Efforts to get official comment from the U.S. Embassy in Harare were unsuccessful as Counselor for Public Affairs Karen Kelly’s secretary Regina Mawere’s number diverted calls to voicemail and she did not respond to voice messages.
However, on March 10, Timveos wrote to Kelly asking for information so she could sue Facebook and the people running Radio Chokwadi, whose identities have been disclosed to NOW DAILY.
Below is the full text of Timveos’s letter to Kelly.
SUBJECT: GUIDANCE REQUESTED ON PLANNED LEGAL ACTION AGAINST U.S. FIRM, FACEBOOK.
Dear Ms Kelly,
I am requesting the assistance of your office in my efforts to file a legal complaint with the U.S. authorities against the U.S. firm, Facebook, for continuously, unapologetically, unashamedly and criminally violating my rights by publishing lies about me on a Facebook account under the name Radio Chokwadi , which I believe is operated by Zimbabweans.
Despite repeated complaints and attempts by my representatives and I to set the record straight, Facebook has continued to publish false, criminal, malicious and very damaging claims and photographs alleging that I am engaged in an adulterous affair with the President of my party, Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai. This has affected my life and work considerably, in an environment where the media is strictly controlled and my right of reply is severely limited.
Section 61 (5) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that freedom of expression and freedom of the media exclude (a) incitement to violence; (b) advocacy of hatred or hate speech; (c) MALICIOUS INJURY TO A PERSON’S REPUTATION OR DIGNITY; (d) malicious or unwarranted breach of a person’s privacy.
In particular, I am seeking an urgent meeting with the relevant officer who can assist me to deal with this matter.
We have written to Facebook repeatedly but they have trivialized the offence, to the extent of allowing more malicious rumours, lewd comments and photographs to be posted on this site. My reputation and dignity as a politician, leader, public servant, married woman and mother of adult children has been severely compromised, in a strongly patriarchal society where women suffer terrible discrimination because of their gender.
In the circumstances, and as a result of the publication of these hate messages – which are part of a sustained propaganda campaign against me – my ability to lead has been affected as some of my colleagues, followers and associates have lost faith in me. This case has also taken an unusual amount of my time and money, in my desperate attempts to resolve it. I have even lost the affection of some family members, colleagues and friends, who have been presented with false information that I am an adulteress.
I am Senator for the Midlands Province, MDC Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, the party’s only female Provincial Chairperson (Midlands South Province), wife to my husband of 22 years Michael Timveos and a mother of four children.
There is a proven campaign to assassinate my character, judging by all the false claims which Facebook has allowed to be published. I would have been satisfied with a simple retraction, apology and removal of the offensive posts. However, in the present circumstances, the owners and instigators of this site have persisted with their falsehoods, to the extent that my political career and family life have been jeopardized.
Further, I am informed that some of the perpetrators are benefitting from United States government funds for this sustained propaganda campaign, in a definite attempt to remove the President of my party and all those seen as loyal to him.”

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