By Andrew Kunambura
THE Zanu PF Politburo has disqualified tycoon James Makamba from contesting the party’s Mashonaland Central provincial chairman post after security chiefs gave a damning verdict on his candidature, describing him as a collateral threat to the party’s interests, NewZimbabwe.com can exclusively report.
Makamba is one of the big names who were disqualified at the Tuesday meeting of the party’s supreme decision making organ in-between congresses.
This leaves odds-on-favourite, businessman Tafadzwa Musarara battling it out with the embattled incumbent, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe.
The elections will be held on December 28.
Zanu PF national political commissar Mike Bimha confirmed in his post meeting press conference that some of the aspiring candidates for provincial posts did not make it, without giving any names.
“All aspiring candidates have been considered this afternoon (Tuesday). The majority have passed that stage. We are not in a position to announce names because they are still subject to vetting by the security department,” Bimha said.
“The politburo went through the rules and regulations and the decision that has been made will also affect whether those who have aspired can actually appear on ballot papers,” he said.
NewZimbabwe.com’s politburo sources however said Makamba was one of the big names who were blocked from contesting.
“There were several people who were disqualified for one or two reasons, the most notable one being James Makamba who was eyeing the Mashonaland Central provincial chairmanship. So he will not be able to stand. His main problem was that he got an extremely adverse security report and there was no way he could have sailed through,” the source, who attended the meeting, said.
The disqualification vindicates NewZimbabwe.com’s Monday report which indicated that chances of him being given the greenlight to contest were virtually non-existent.
Reliable sources had confided in NewZimbabwe.com that the Mashonaland Central provincial joint operations command (JOC) has consistently expressed its concerns over his candidature in its meetings, especially over his previous alleged romantic affair with former first lady Grace Mugabe, which led him into fleeing the country.
Security concerns are that he is a daring man capable of doing anything after he allegedly “went after the wife of Africa’s most feared man at the time”.
“There is a strong belief among the security chiefs that he is daring, reckless and excitable. This is from a security point of view,” a security source said.
“So basically, whether it’s true or not, they have concluded that he can do anything for power. In one of the meetings, a contributor said he could have gone for any other woman, but chose her. It means a lot, that is the first scenario given,” a source said.
“The second scenario is that there are genuine fears he could be working for or with G40. Remember he is from Mt Darwin, the home of G40. So there is that suspicion as well which worries Joc a lot. This province is the strongest support base for Zanu PF and is also the home of Gamatox. It is expected to cover for Zanu PF’s shortcomings in other provinces and cannot be left in questionable hands. This is the concern being raised among security chiefs,” the source further said.
“The other issue that was raised was that Grace’s assets are in the province, she holds interests in politics and was the G40 lynchpin. What has also caused problems is her continued refusal to have her husband reburied at the Heroes Acre. In any political machination, the provincial chair is the target. She still has foot soldiers. And now that she is a widow, they can rekindle their thing and even marry.”
Sources had further indicated that Makamba is bound to face major stumbling blocks in his bid given other dynamics with interests apparently running antagonistic to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s.
“The other thing is that he wants his farm back which was taken by Presidential Guard commander Brigadier General Fidelis Mhonda. So basically, a major fight is looming between Makamba and the president’s bodyguard-in-chief. Add to that the fact that he is still fighting to win back his shares in Telecel. The consortium which won those shares is represented by the president’s son in law Gerald Mlotshwa.”
“The generals basically think the province is not in safe hands with Makamba. We are going into a do-or-die election in 2023, and there are fears his shenanigans are going to tumble when he gets into office,” another source said.
The politburo also dissolved all hitherto existing provincial structures ahead of the elections.