Mahere Wins Gappah Court Case With Judge’s Backing
27 May 2024
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Petina Gappah Apologizes to Mahere, Rehashing Public Domain Statements After Controversial Judge Backed Fadzayi

Harare, Zimbabwe – By Court Correspondent | Analysis | In a dramatic turn of events, acclaimed author and lawyer Petina Gappah has issued a public apology to Advocate Fadzayi Mahere, following a contentious defamation lawsuit that has gripped the nation’s attention since 2018. The apology comes after years of legal battles, unexpected twists, and intense courtroom drama that has favoured Mahere throughout, at a time when opposition figures like Nelson Chamisa and Job Sikhala are losing court battles every time.

Fadzayi Mahere had taken Gappah to court for defamation, demanding substantial damages for statements Gappah made on Twitter, now known as X. The case, which began in 2018, saw a series of unexpected developments, including the mysterious disappearance of key evidence from Gappah’s legal bundle and an approach by Mahere’s boyfriend with a proposal to settle the matter out of court. Gappah declined the offer, choosing to fight the case in court.

However, Gappah faced significant legal challenges. Justice Mafusire refused to recuse himself from the case, subsequently passing a sensational verdict that thwarted all of Gappah’s procedural applications. As a result, Gappah struggled to make progress in her defense, ultimately leading to her decision to apologize.

In a formal statement, Gappah retracted her previous claims, which included allegations about Mahere’s academic history and personal life. The apology reads:


“In September 2018, following a public spat on Twitter, now X, I posted a number of statements about Advocate Fadzayi Mahere, namely that:
– She got into the University of Zimbabwe through the help of her father in 2004;
– She was an intern in The Hague in 2009;
– She attempted to ‘get into [the] pants’ of the father of my son after he asked me to help her with her application to Cambridge University; and
– I helped her to get into Cambridge by editing her application essay in October 2009.

Advocate Mahere considered my statements to be untruthful, defamatory, and injurious to her. Consequently, she launched legal action against me for causing ‘irreparable harm’ to her political career, her career as a civil society activist, and her career as an advocate.

In order to bring a conclusive end to the legal action, I hereby fully and unequivocally retract all the statements that I made about her, both on Twitter and in subsequent legal pleadings, and tender a full, public and unreserved apology to Advocate Mahere for any pain, hurt, or distress that were caused by my statements.

I wish Advocate Mahere continued success in her political career, her career as a civil society activist, and her career as an advocate.

As a demonstration of my good faith, sincerity, and regret, I undertake to make a donation in Advocate Mahere’s name to the charity of her choice. It is my sincere hope that this full retraction and apology brings finality and closure to this matter.”

While Gappah has offered this apology, it’s noteworthy that much of what she retracted had already been in the public domain, some of which was initially stated by activist Hopewell Chin’ono two years before Gappah repeated them. This aspect of rehashing known statements adds another layer of complexity to the litigation.

This apology marks a significant conclusion to a highly publicized legal dispute.