James Chafungamoyo Makamba|
January 1, 1952
Madziva Reserve, Shamva, Zimbabwe
James Chafungamoyo Makamba is a Zimbabwean entrepreneur, politician and former commercial broadcaster. Makamba established a consultancy business which represented the corporation in various sectors in a number of African countries. Makamba is the current chairman of Telecel Zimbabwe, a telecommunications company in which he has a stake.
- 1 Background
- 2 Education and Early Career
- 3 Politics
- 4 BlackBerry Productions
- 5 Joy TV
- 6 Consultancy
- 7 Retail
- 8 Telecel Zimbabwe
- 9 Allegations of Corruption
- 10 Arrest over Exchange Regulations
- 11 Other Controversy
- 12 Picture Gallery
- 13 Videos
- 14 Latest News
- 15 Latest Articles Created on Pindula
- 16 References
James Chafungamoyo Makamba was born on 1 January 1952 in the gold mining town of Shamva. He was the youngest of ten children (four boys, six girls), and grew up in Shamva, Madziva Reserve area where his father ran a small business ploughing people's crop fields on contract and owned a grinding mill. Makamba is married to Irene Makamba. Together they have 4 children, 2 boys (Zororo Makamba | Zororo, a radio presenter and Tawanda) and 2 girls, (Chiyedza and Kushinga). Chiyedza died in a car crash in Zimbabwe in 2011 but Makamba, who was still in exile, could not attend the funeral. After completing school Makamba worked at the Catholic church in the then Salisbury and contemplated joining priesthood but his mother refused.
Education and Early Career
Makamba attended the Mupfurudzi Primary School. Later, his family moved to Chesa and there he attended the Kujuwara School near Mount Darwin. Eventually one of his elder brothers, Raphael, invited him to live with his family in Tomlinson Depot, Harare, where he finished his upper primary education. During this time Makamba started participating in schools broadcasts at the Department of Education's Audio Visual Services center. The manager of this place, one Cephas Rangwani, encouraged Makamba to audition with Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation (RBC). he got the job and worked as a voice for commercials.
From the popularity he got as a radio personality Makamba decided to join politics first becoming a Councillor, and then Town Board Chairman. Makamba then became the publicity secretary of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) in Mashonaland Central Province. Eventually he was appointed to the Zanu-PF Central Committee, a very powerful decision making body of the party.
Makamba was involved in a business called BlackBerry Productions.
In the 90s while he was still a radio personality, the government decided to shut down and education TV channel. Makamba saw an opportunity to start a commercial television broadcasting business and came up with a consortium of friends and associates to take over the channel from the government. They renamed it Joy TV. They ran it for six years before being refused a license renewal by the government in 2002.
It was believed that Joy TV was refused a license as their programming was viewed as sympathetic to the new MDC opposition party.
Makamba also had interests in the retail sector, owning a number of supermarkets in Harare.
Please follow this link for the full article on Telecel Zimbabwe.
While at Lonrho, Makamba met Miko Rwayitare a Rwandan born co-founder of Telecel and and Joel Gutt his partner. The two were building his telecoms business in Africa. Makamba says Miko was brought to him by a friend in telecoms industry. Together they established Telecel Zimbabwe.
Makamba, through his investment company, Kestrel Corporation, was part of a consortium known as the Empowerment Corporation of Zimbabwe (EC), which became 60% owner in Telecel. The rest, 40%, was owned by Telecel International.
EC itself was a results of an organisation called Zimbabwe Wealth Creation Council which was formed in 1996. It was essentially a black people empowerment organisation. Members of the council were Indigenous Business Women's Organisation (IBWO), National Miners' Association, Affirmative Action Group (AAG), the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWA), the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU), Integrated Engineering Group (IEG) owned by Leo Mugabe and Kestrel Corporation, Makamba's company.
When the licence was issued, the allocation of shares was made as follows; Kestrel 15%, IEG 10% while ZFU, IBWO, National Miners Association, AAG and War Veterans Association were given 9% each. All issued shares therefore accounted for 70% of the EC. The remaining 30% of the shares were warehoused. These EC members were then supposed to pay for the shares, but only a few managed to subscribe. A resolution was made, allowing individuals within the organisation (such as Phillip Chiyangwa president of the Affirmative Action Group, Jane Mutasa of the Indigenous Businesswomen Organisation and so on...) to pay for the transactions.
Phillip Chiyangwa bought shares through his Native Investments while Mutasa bought shares using her investment vehicle Selpon. Apart from Makamba's Kestrel Corporation, eventually only IBWO and the War Veterans Association collectively subscribed to shares below 3 percent. Chiyangwa however later disposed of his shareholding to Makamba.
Mutasa has claimed in media reports that a resolution regarding unsubscribed shares was then supposed to be taken by the Empowerment Corporation. Mutasa has also claimed that during this time, Makamba allocated himself the unsubscribed shares including the warehoused 30%, the result being that he now owned 75% of EC. Makamba, Mutasa said, then sold EC's 20% stake in Telecel Zimbabwe to Telecel International.
In June 2013, it was reported that a war veterans’ company Magamba eChimurenga Housing Scheme was contemplating legal action against Makamba for allegedly fraudulently acquiring its shares in Telecel Zimbabwe on behalf of Telecel International. Magamba wanted the 20% of Empowerment Corporation which was acquired by Telecel International through Makamba and a further 30% of Empowerment Corporation’s Telecel Zimbabwe shares which Makamba allegedly “gave himself without due process of business law”. Magamba claimed that it had previously raised its concerns with Makamba in letters dated November 6, 2000 and February 6, 2000 after they discovered that Makamba had manipulated his accountant to twist systems and undervalue shares to favour Makamba over other stakeholders.
Allegations of Corruption
President Robert Mugabe is said to have issued a warning to Makamba after he built a supermarket on an occupied farm in the Mazowe area without a council permit, or any approval for his business plan. Mugabe is reported to have said: "We have people just building shops without authority. You should have the correct license and proper registration. If you fall short of that then that business is illegal." He was later arrested on charges of contravening exchange regulations.
Arrest over Exchange Regulations
On February 9, 2004, while Zimbabwe was facing it's worst economic decline, Makamba was arrested during a financial crackdown that targeted dozens of businessmen alleged to have externalised foreign currency. The offence that he was charged with was that he had changed foreign currency on the parallel market instead of taking this money to the bank and have it changed at the official rate of exchange.
He spent more than 6 months in custody and was denied bail more than 13 times.
Makamba pleaded guilty in the regional court to the first six counts of contravening s 4(1)(a)(I) of the Regulations, in that he sold foreign currency to Telecel Zimbabwe an unauthorised dealer. He paid a fine. To the other five counts alleging the contravention of s 11(1)(a) of the Regulations in that being a Zimbabwean resident without the authority of the exchange control authority, he unlawfully made payments outside Zimbabwe, Makamba pleaded not guilty. After he eventually got bail he fled into exile in 2005, first to Egypt, and then to the London.
It was rumoured that when Makamba fled Zimbabwe in 2005, it was not just for the business persecution, but that he had had an affair with the First Lady, Grace Mugabe. This has been cited as the reason he has remained in exile even after being despecified in 2009.
In December 2013 Zimbabwe’s Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said Makamba was free to return to Zimbabwe as there was no need for him to be in exile. "Zimbabwe is a peaceful country and everyone is welcome to come but if there is something wrong he (Mr Makamba) did then maybe he would be afraid to come but it will be only him who knows that," he said.
It was reported that Makamba had ambitions to be Harare mayor. Despite winning Zanu PF primaries, he pulled out in the last elections citing business commitments. Previously, he failed to produce his O’ Level certificate, and was twice prevented from standing in 1996 and 1999 by Zanu PF’s decision making organ – the politburo.
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