Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) spokesperson Advocate Fadzayi Mahere has disowned her verified Twitter account in a desperate bid to escape a defamation lawsuit, raising embarrassing questions about the integrity of one of the opposition’s leading lights.
Individuals are required to “provide a photo of a valid official government issued identification document, such as your Driver’s Licence or Passport”, as per verification requirements listed on the Twitter website.
Mahere made the bizarre claim in a High Court plea responding to summons for damages filed by fellow lawyer, Advocate Tinomudaishe Chinyoka.
Chinyoka is claiming US$100,000 “in damages for defamation and injurious falsehood”.
The lawsuit relates to a tweet posted by Mahere on March 10, 2022 alleging Chinyoka had been suspended from the Petrotrade board for corruption. This appears to have been untrue.
Chinyoka is fighting to reverse the suspension of the board he chaired.
In court papers, he says Energy minister Soda Zhemu and senior officials in the ministry are pushing the privatisation of Petrotrade “to the exclusion of the board which is unlawful.”
The developments left Mahere in a pickle as she had alleged Chinyoka and his board members were corrupt.
“Corruption is killing us. They were appointed in June 2021. Before one year is up, they’re facing allegations of corruption. Among the suspended are Tino Chinyoka and Lilian Timveos,” she said in the tweet which is now the subject of litigation.
“The defendant is Fadzayi Mahere, a private individual and lawyer … (who) has/runs/controls an account on Twitter under the handle @advocatemahere,” Chinyoka averred, in papers filed with the High Court in May.
In her defendant’s plea submitted on June 6, Mahere denied Chinyoka’s assertion that she “has/runs/controls” the @advocatemahere account.
“Denied. The Plaintiff is put to the strict proof of his claim,” she declared, in court papers seen by Kukurigo.
The fiery advocate, who refers to herself as ‘Zim Iron Lady’, also took exception to Chinyoka’s description of her as a private individual.
“The defendant denies that she is a mere private individual. The plaintiff is aware that the defendant is the spokesperson and secretary for information of the main opposition in Zimbabwe,” Mahere’s plea reads.
Despite denying that she controls the @advocatemahere handle, she bizarrely proceeds to defend the tweet in the same plea, saying “the contents of the tweet were true”.
Chinyoka responded to Mahere’s plea in replication papers filed Friday (July 8), describing Mahere as dishonest.
“And, as the Defendant goes on to admit publishing the statements complained about, the denial that the Twitter handle ‘@advocatemahere’ belongs to her and the sanctimonious demand for the Plaintiff to prove the fact is, in these unfortunate circumstances, facetious,” Chinyoka claims in a blistering response.
“Demonstrating her propensity and propinquity for mendacity and perfidy, the Defendant confuses herself by claiming that a verified (Twitter) account requires further proof that it is hers.”
Beyond the verified status of the account, Mahere will struggle to distance herself from the account as she regularly uses the handle to post flattering ‘selfie’ pictures of herself (images above).
The denial of such an obvious fact will bring Mahere’s integrity into sharper focus as the CCC leadership considers the tenability of her position, following revelations by Kukurigo that she was involved in an affair with a married Harare businessman, resulting in his wife and their two small kids abandoning the matrimonial home.
Mahere has threatened to sue this publication over these revelations.
Separately, Mahere has locked legal horns in the High Court with renowned author and international trade lawyer Dr Petina Gappah. Gappah is defending a lawsuit by Mahere over her comment that, among other things, the CCC spokesperson was admitted to the University of Zimbabwe without the requisite points, relying on her Zanu PF loyalist father’s influence in government.
It remains to be seen how Mahere will prove her shockingly bizarre claim that the widely known @advocatemahere Twitter account is not hers.