Businessman James Makamba made a triumphant return to Zimbabwe last year after years in exile and the crowning glory would have been him being allowed to stand on a Zanu-PF ticket in the upcoming elections, but as fate would have it, he has been chalked off the ruling party’s list of primary election candidates.
Makamba was withdrawn ostensibly because he fell short of the selection criteria, but party insiders say his coup de grace was the leaking of an audio, where he seemed to be gunning for Information Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira and accusing senior government officials of failing to assist him on the Telecel issue.
In the leaked audio, Makamba is recorded allegedly plotting a smear campaign against the minister.
Zanu-PF Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson, Kazembe Kazembe yesterday told NewsDay that Makamba was disqualified for failing to meet the set criteria.
“According to the final list by the national elections commission, he did not meet the criteria,” Kazembe said.
Makamba had filed nomination papers to contest the party’s primary elections for Mt Darwin South constituency, previously under former national commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere.
“Our guidelines are very clear that the final decision as to who qualifies is made by the party’s national elections commission and the decision is based on a clearly spelt out criteria.
“He, therefore, couldn’t make it,” Kazembe said.
On Saturday, Makamba’s name was announced as one of the Zanu-PF candidates approved to contest in the primaries, before it was unceremoniously withdrawn, with sources citing the leaked tape as the source of his troubles.
In the audio, Makamba was recorded allegedly saying he was plotting a smear campaign against Mandiwanzira, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga.
“He is no longer standing. His supporters will tell you that he withdrew from the race, but the truth of the matter is that he was disqualified on Monday night,” a source said.
Zanu-PF insiders said top Zanu-PF officials were unhappy with Makamba’s conduct and his attempt to fund some people so that they could de-campaign, Chiwenga and some ministers
One of the candidates who were supposed to face Makamba in the party’s primary polls, Godfrey Tsenengamu said he was “not concerned with Makamba’s presence in the race”.
“He is just one among 20 other candidates, so whether he is in or not, I will not bother myself,” Tsenengamu said.
The leaked audio recording circulating on social media illustrates Makamba’s frustration with Mnangagwa for failing to assist him regain control of Telecel.
He is also heard taking a dig at Chiwenga and his wife, Marry.
Makamba, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, is heard suggesting names of journalists that can be paid $200 each to undertake his alleged assignments.