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Gappah suffers setback in defending US$1 million lawsuit by Mahere

High Court judge Justice Joseph Mafusire has dismissed an application by lawyer and writer Petina Gappah seeking further particulars in a case she is being sued US$1 million for defamation by fellow lawyer Fadzayi Mahere.

Mahere, the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) national spokesperson is suing Gappah for defamation of character.

She accuses Gappah of publishing a series of tweets on her handle @VascoDaGappah accusing her of corruptly enrolling at the University of Zimbabwe and the Cambridge University and also attempting to seduce Gappah’s boyfriend at some point.

To support her defense, Gappah filed a High Court application seeking some documents.

She wanted proof of her communication with Mahere in September 2009 on Facebook Messenger in which the latter allegedly sought help with her application to Cambridge University.

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Gappah also wants communication on the same platform in which Mahere allegedly asked intrusive questions about the status of her relationship with her son’s father.

Gappah wanted Mahere’s official documents pertaining to her employment in The Hague in 2009, their communication in August 2016 in which she turned down an offer to meet for lunch.

She also demanded Mahere’s curriculum vitae which she circulated as part of her Yellow Campaign in 2018 in which she claimed to have worked for an international trade consultancy in Geneva, Switzerland.

But Mafusire dismissed her request arguing:

“In essence, her lengthy document seems to be a hybrid, constituting a notice of exception, heads of argument and closing submissions, particularly as it seeks, in some portions, to comment on the evidence to be led at the trial. This is manifestly irregular.”

The judge added: “The conduct of the defendant in mounting the application to compel further discovery and in filing a lengthy, but baseless objection cannot be justified … the application under HC 3178/21 to compel further discovery is hereby dismissed with costs.”