Popular radio personality Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa has finally admitted that she invited businessman Tafadzwa Musarara to a ZiFM Stereo programme where he had a showdown with Evan Mawarire.
The encounter between Musarara and Mawarire gripped Zimbabwe at the height of the latter’s #ThisFlag campaign against corruption in former president Robert Mugabe’s government last year.
Ruvheneko was the host of The Platform programme at the time. After her followers on Twitter complained about Musarara’s role in the programme, the radio personality denied inviting him and igniting the sparked verbal war that extended as far as the High Court.
Musarara filed a $200 000 lawsuit against the former ZiFM Stereo programmes manager, accusing her of defaming him. He insisted that he was invited by Ruvheneko.
The matter was settled last month before it went to trial after Ruvheneko offered to retract her statements using social media.
According to a deed of settlement seen by The Standard Style, Ruvheneko’s apology will read as follows:
“On May 19 2016, I posted a statement on my personal Twitter account, which read: Hello @jjwhitlaw please be very clear that I did not invite Tafadzwa Musarara. He was present, but not at my invitation.
“This statement went viral. I made further press statements confirming this position, and several media publications, both print and online, covered the Twitter statement.
“Consequently, it attracted vicious attacks on the person and good standing of Mr Tafadzwa Musarara.
“I wish to state that the radio’s management, to which I was part of, resolved to invite him to the programme.
“I, therefore, extended to him the invitation to attend the programme.
“I regret posting that Twitter statement as it created a false impression that Mr Musarara was an uninvited guest.
“As a journalist, I have a duty to protect all my guests, which includes Mr Musarara, regardless of their divergent views.
“I respect his views and I am without doubt grateful for the contributions he made to the show.
“I therefore wish to retract that statement and unreservedly apologise to Mr Tafadzwa Musarara, his family and business associates for the unfortunate embarrassment the statement created.”
Musarara in his court application said he was humiliated by Ruvheneko after she accused him of gate-crashing her programme.
“Upon arrival at the defendant [Ruvheneko’s] work place, defendant briefed the plaintiff [Musarara] on the subject of the programme and advised that it was a debate with one Evan Mawarire of #ThisFlag movement….,” Musarara said in his declaration under case number HC9910/16.
“…As expected, listeners expressed various opinions through Facebook, Twitter and call in on the content of the programme.
“Of interest, some listeners wanted to know who had invited the plaintiff to the programme.
To the utmost surprise and dismay of [the]plaintiff, [the]defendant published a statement on her twitter account dubbed @RuvhenekoP, “Hello @jjwhitlaw please be very clear that I did not invite Tafadzwa Musarara. He was present, but not at my invitation.”
However, Ruvheneko on Friday professed ignorance about the court case and the outcome.
“What papers? That is crazy, why would he send them to you and not me? she said, requesting that a picture of the papers be sent to her.
“I do not want to talk about that issue, but why would he send them to you? Let me contact my lawyer and try to understand what is happening.”
Musarara was represented by advocate Brian Hungwe of AB & David Legal Practitioners while Tawanda Chiurayi of Coghlan, Welsh & Guest Legal Practitioners represented Ruvheneko.