Petina Gappah Retracts Defamatory Statements, Apologizes to Fadzayi Mahere

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HARARE – In a significant development, lawyer and author Petina Gappah has retracted defamatory statements made against Fadzayi Mahere, bringing an end to a prolonged legal battle that began in 2018.

Gappah had accused Mahere of using her father’s influence to gain admission to the University of Zimbabwe in 2004 despite insufficient qualifications. She also alleged that Mahere attempted to steal her boyfriend and claimed to have assisted Mahere with her Cambridge application essay in 2009. These accusations led to a US$1 million lawsuit filed by Mahere.

After several failed attempts to block the trial, Gappah issued a retraction and public apology:

“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.”

In addition to the retraction and apology, Gappah has pledged to donate to a charity selected by Mahere.

Previously, Gappah had informed the High Court that she was prepared to defend her statements and had witnesses to support her claims. However, this retraction marks a significant shift, aiming to resolve the matter amicably and put the legal dispute to rest.

The resolution of this case highlights the importance of accountability and the impact of public statements, setting a precedent for how similar disputes may be handled in the future.