Break-ups are perhaps the hardest phase in life, in our quest for truth and justice, UKZAMBIANS Magazine interviewed Mr. Ken Spooner, British national and the man at the centre of an international child abduction case involving a Zambian woman to reveal facts about differences with his ex-partner, Zanetta Nyendwa.
Below is what Spooner had to say about himself, how he met Zanetta Nyendwa, the abduction of his kids, life in Zambia, and much more.
Ken Spooner, contacted UKZAMBIANS
UKZAMBIANS: Can you tell us about yourself, how old are you and which part of the UK do you come from?
I am Ken Spooner, aged 47 and have grown up in a very happy family setting with both my parents and sister. My roots are from north London, although I have settled in the nearby home counties.
UKZAMBIANS: What is your professional background?
I trained as a carpenter, and moved into sales and marketing for the past 20 years.
UKZAMBIANS: How did you meet your ex-partner?
We met in a bar in the late summer of 2003 in Watford, near London.
UKZAMBIANS: What attracted you to her?
I’ m not sure, love is blind sometimes.. but the chemistry was there and our relationship just grew.
UKZAMBIANS: During the time you stayed together, was she working or just looking after the kids?
When we met she was working full time, and carried on working until she fell pregnant with our first born. She decided to be a full time mum up until our second child was born, and then wanted to return to work part time which I fully supported. I have always encouraged her to be independent.
UKZAMBIANS: Why didn’t you marry her you lived together for over 4 years and had 2 children? Is that the reason she left you?
We were engaged to be married and both shared the view that a strong relationship didn’t need a marriage certificate. We were planning to come to Zambia for a traditional ceremony once our second child was born.
Unfortunately, shortly after our second son was born, her feelings towards me changed.
UKZAMBIANS: Why did she leave you?
Even up until now she has never told me exactly why, except that her feelings had changed and that she “didn’t see us together as a couple anymore” (her own words).
She also said that she wanted to ‘find herself’, and that even though she knew she was being selfish, it was her life to do whatever she wished to do with it!
UKZAMBIANS: Why did you let her go?
It wasn’t my decision for us to break up, and the deep love that I had for her was unconditional! At the end of the day, as much as we may love someone, we cannot control the heart or mind of another person. I would have died for her, and it broke my heart when she decided to leave me.
UKZAMBIANS: Did you encourage her to stay with you?
Absoulutely! This wasn’t just about her and me, we had a very young family and I would have done anything to have kept our family together. I knew that this would affect our children somehow, and that we had a responsibility to them to at least try and work things through.
UKZAMBIANS: Have you been married before?
Yes, I was married before.
UKZAMBIANS: Have you ever had any relationship before with a black woman?
Well, actually my former partner is mixed race, or ‘coloured’ as seems to be the term used in Zambia. However, my current girlfriend is a black woman, and we have had a wonderful and meaningful relationship for the past 20 months. I am not a racist, and do not choose whether or not to have a relationship with a woman just because of the colour of her skin.. our hearts are the same colour, thats all that is important.
UKZAMBIANS: Some Zambians do not sympathise with you, because they think that white men generally abuse their black partners, what is your view?
That is ridiculous! You cannot generalise in that way. It is very unfortunate that some people find themselves in an abusive relationship, and I would never condone such a thing to happen. Anyone who abuses their partner in anyway ought to be punished by the full extent of the law. I know of many mixed race relationships, and they have nothing but love and respect for each other.
UKZAMBIANS: Were you surprised that she picked the kids to go to Zambia and never came back?
Yes, it was a shock to discover that my trust for her had yet again been betrayed.
If I had suspected that she intended to abduct my children, I wouldn’t have given my consent for the 2-week holiday that we had agreed to, unless we had put in legal measures to prevent parental child abduction.
UKZAMBIANS: Do you think you will ever get your kids back to Britain?
I would like to think that there is a way forward somehow. My children are still Wards of the English Courts, and they are still being unlawfully retained in Zambia.
I will be consulting legal experts for a way forward, and hope that further Court issues could be avoided if my ex and her family agree to mediate instead.
UKZAMBIANS: What do you say to people who think you are a bad person?
What kind of bad person would go to such great lengths for his children?
I am simply fighting for my children,s rights, for them to be able to have a relationship with both parents.
UKZAMBIANS: What about the Zambian media, they have misrepresented your character?
Not all Zambian media have misrepresented my character, my complaint was to do with recent articles in ‘The Times of Zambia’. Those articles showed a very biased account from the perspective of my ex partner and her family, and because the reporter in question failed to consult with me to establish the facts, it allowed a number of lies and fabrication to be published.
UKZAMBIANS: You have been reported that this case have cost over £200,000 in loss of income, many people do not believe you?
I’m not going to disclose exactly how much my earnings are, but suffice to say that together with loss of earnings, flights, accommodation, transport, communication, and massive legal fees, that figure is increasing by the day.
UKZAMBIANS: In her recent interview, Zanetta Nyendwa said that you have refused any mediation, is that true?
I have consistently extended the hand of peace, only for it to be bitten off. Her lawyers never reply to mine with respect to mediation.
UKZAMBIANS: Did you try to abduct the kids with the help of the maids, is there any truth in this and are you going to be charged ?
There is absolutely no truth whatsoever in these allegations. It is ridiculous to suggest that after all I have done through the legal path that I would risk being thrown out of Zambia and never to see my boys again. There would be too much to lose, and my children would suffer even more. The investigations are still ongoing, and I am confident that nothing will come from this. This whole persecution was staged managed with the intention of discrediting me, I have no knowledge of any ‘so called’ burglary. I am very concerned that my children are exposed to danger at the gran
UKZAMBIANS: Why not let kids grow up in Zambia? Did you think kids cannot have a good education in Zambia?
It has to be considered that my children are here in Zambia without my consent. They were only meant to be here for 2-weeks, and it is now nearly 2-years!
I have never said that Zambia cannot educate my children either, and although I am confident that a high level of education is available in Zambia, unfortunately it has to be paid for and doesn’t come cheap. Amongst the other rights of my children, they also have a right to take full advantage of the education that is available to them in England, and that is provided free of charge from British taxpayers money.
UKZAMBIANS: When was the last time you saw your kids?
The last time I was ‘permitted’ to see my little boys was on 16th November 2009, and have only been availed a couple of phone calls in that time.
I have managed to briefly see them on two occasions just by chance since then, although these where quickly scuppered my my ex and her family. I can count of the tips of my fingers the number of times in total that I have been allowed access to my children.
I love my children with all my heart, and I,m increasingly concerned for their emotional stability, what must they be thinking? That their daddy doesn’t care about them, and why is it that he isn’t calling around to see them or even call. I’m not even allowed to speak with them on the telephone, this is the ultimate act of selfishness and cruelty to my boys.. This is not about love, its about power and control! I miss my children enormously, and I just want them back in my life!
UKZAMBIANS: How are you keeping yourself in Zambia?
With great difficulty, i have just about used up my reserves now and I have spent my life’s savings fighting for my children. If i didn’t have any savings to start with then I would never have been able to pursue this, and my little boys would have been lost to me forever.
UKZAMBIANS: What is your general view about Zambian people?
In the past two years, I have come to know a beautiful people here in Zambia.. We can all learn from each other, and if I could just bottle one thing and bring it back to England, it would be the genuine kindness and warmth of the Zambian people. I have nothing but good things to say in that respect, and I am very humbled by what I have experienced here.
UKZAMBIANS: Who is assisting your stay in Zambia?
In the past two years almost, I have made more friends than in a lifetime in England. Again, that’s what im talking about!
UKZAMBIANS: Are you receiving any help from the British High Commission in Zambia?
The BHC cannot interfere with judicial process in a sovereign state. However, they have been very supportive and hopefully both the Zambian and British governments can work together to resolve this issue of international parental child abduction. This is not a unique issue, and unfortunately there will come a time in the future when another child is abducted to Zambia from somewhere in the world, and indeed from Zambia to somewhere else.
UKZAMBIANS: What is your plan B if any?
I don’t have a plan B, simply to carry on as strong as I can in the hope that the day will come when my children can enjoy a meaningful relationship with both parents.
UKZAMBIANS: Would you marry another Zambian?
Absolutely, this episode has not made me generalize that all Zambian women are the same.. on the contrary, most of the women that I have since conversed with are quite the opposite of my ex in every respect.
UKZAMBIANS: Finally what can you say to Zanetta Nyendwa and anyone reading?
I think its mostly been said already.. I have agreed to do this interview so as to give a fair and balance account of the facts. I would swear on what I have stated, and I am a christian man. This is not about me, and not about the ex!.. Its all about the children, for them to be able to enjoy both parents. One parent should never be able to unilaterally take a child or children away from the other parent whether it is the mother of the father! It is Wrong! It is unlawful! It is child abuse!