Defamation as a Form of Violence Against Women

I recently read an article about Barbara Nyagomo which the media has once again filled with inaccuracies.  I feel strongly that you should be advised of the facts, and hope they following will clarify the truth of the matter:

Barbara Nyagomo has never been a volunteer for GCN.  Girl Child Network Worldwide has a strict recruitment policy for volunteers and holds no record of Barbara.  Munashe Godo, a college mate of mine, had a picture of Tare on her Face book which Barbara saw.  She contacted me to say they had Face book friends who could help to spread the word about our cause.

Not long after this, Munashe and Barbara called me demanding to be paid an allowance of £360.00 each for taking the story to New Zimbabwe.com via Josh Chigwanga.  I told them there were many Zimbabweans on Face book helping to spread the word, and they had not demanded payment for doing so.  They then called a “chat” meeting during which I explained to them that, as they were not recruited volunteers, it would be unprofessional for me to pay them the allowance they were demanding.  I explained that as a volunteer, I was already building up interest through many Face book members around the world in an effort to raise funds to help Tare.

I had approached Priscilla Nyathi to help me set up GCNW here in the UK.  Priscilla and Barbara then joined forces against me – demanding payment for services.  Priscilla even went so far as to approach Tare and her mother, shouting abuse at them and telling them she had to walk out in the cold trying to help them.  This was very distressing to Tare and her mother as well as to me.

When it was time for me to leave for the CNN Heroes Award, I had no option but to leave to blank, signed cheques with Priscilla; one was for the hospital and the other to be used for any emergencies during my absence.  Imagine my dismay when on my return I discovered that money had been misappropriated.  Barbara and Priscilla had taken £4500.00 and an amount of £3500 had been paid to Priscilla’s friend, Claudette Dube.  The matter was handed over to the police who returned the cheques once the investigation was under way.

Previously, Barbara had instructed her company in South Africa to print Tare T-shirts and organise a gig.  She did this without consulting me and when she asked for payment to cover these expenses I refused.  I felt she was trying to make a profit out of it for her own company and I was not going to be a party to it.  I have a very strict policy on how funds are utilised, as these funds should be used to directly benefit the girls and should not line the pockets of “middle men”.  She became extremely angry and arrogant and I felt serious trouble was brewing.

While I was away at the CNN Awards in Los Angeles, Barbara started a smear campaign against me in the media. I knew she was going to do something like this as, prior to my departure, she had spent two weeks terrorising me, Vio Mak and many other people along the way.  She told me she would “fix” me and prove she had supporters of her own. She accused me of stealing funds saying GCNW transferred money into private accounts.

When I returned, I could not give the media a clear answer before everything was thoroughly investigated. I immediately sourced a reputable registered accountant in Southend to examine the accounts.  It was then that the truth emerged about the misappropriated funds, as mentioned above, which were traced back to Barbara and Priscilla.

As a nurse she should have had compassion and realised this wicked media campaign would cause Tare a great deal of distress.  She didn’t care whose name she dragged into her personal vendetta.

I should make it clear that the funds converted to personal use by Barbara’s ally, Priscilla Nyathi did not come from Tare’s fund.  Tare’s donations were paid either in cash directly to her mother or transferred into a family account.  The funds taken by Priscilla were from donations received from CNN viewers.

Barbara has apologised to me on several occasions, but the damage she did to my reputation and especially the suffering she has caused the girls, has made me distrust her completely and the rift can never be healed.

I am relieved now that I did not play into her hands and pay her company for the printing.  I realise this too may have been misconstrued and would have given her yet another weapon against me.

She wanted to be a part of GCN but I am so relieved she has not joined my organisation.  She has close connections to the controversial Zimbabwean journalist, Admore Tshuma, and they both appear to be part of a ZAPU network and the CIO here in the UK.  They are bent on harassing me and my family and cause a great deal of suffering through their deliberate misinformation to the public.  My family and I have lived under a cloud of threats from this source which is unsettling to say the least.

Despite Barbara’s apologies, these slanderous stories about me are still circulating on the Internet.  All I want to do is work towards helping improve the lives of young girls who have suffered terrible abuse and trauma in their lives.  These malicious accusations cause unnecessary distractions and interfere with my busy schedule.  There are many people who know me personally and know I work on an unpaid basis with GCNW.  I depend entirely on a stipend from Ashoka (www.ashoka.org) so I cannot understand why these women have persecuted me.

By receiving the CNN Award, I committed no crime, yet the Herald (Zimbabwe) reported in large headlines that I was arrested.  The police are investigating all the stories and have said they suspect it may have been the CIO harassing and targeting me through these fabrications.  I wish someone could advise me on how to put a stop to this defamation of my character.  The perpetrators have refused to do a retraction and continue to protect Barbara, so the trauma continues – and to add insult to injury, my charity has lost £4500.00.

I would like to place on record that I am the only Zimbabwean woman who has been persecuted, defamed and harassed through the internet yet all I have done throughout my life is try to serve and save girls.  I had to leave Zimbabwe because I was arrested many times through Ropofadzo Mapimhidze who peddled the same lies as Barbara.  The sad part is, these women know how hard I’ve worked to help those in need.

Regards

Hazviperi Betty Makoni(Muzvare)
Chief Executive Officer and Founder

4 West Road,Westcliff-On Sea,Essex,SS0 9DA

Tel: 00447951522790

Website:http://www.girlchildnetworkworldwide.org

Twitter:Betty_Makoni
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