James Jonga
James Jonga
In office
14 June 2014 – 15 July 2021
Preceded byEdwin Ndoro
Personal details
James Kenneth Jonga
  • Former permanent secretary in the OPC in charge of the DDF

James Kenneth Jonga was the permanent secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet in charge of the District Development Fund and related infrastructure development. Jonga died on 15 July 2021.


James Jonga had a Bachelor of Administration degree, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and a Master of Science in International Relations.[1]


Jonga was the director of Operations in the District Development Fund before assuming the Director-General position in 1991. James Jonga was appointed permanent secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet in charge of the District Development Fund and related infrastructure development by Robert Mugabe in 2014 following the retirement of Edward Ndoro.[1]

Attempt Car Theft

In August 2019, a thief Blessing Tuwara was caught trying to drive off in a VX V8 Toyota Land Cruiser belonging to James Jonga.

The incident happened just outside a Cabs banking hall corner Simon Muzenda and Central Avenue in Harare’s CBD. Witnesses said Tuwara wrestled with Jonga’s assistant who first saw the incident while parked in another vehicle close by.

Within a few minutes, a crowd had gathered to witness the scuffle.[2]

Abuse of Office

There were allegations of abuse of office, looting of the parastatal’s equipment and other underhand dealings against James Jonga.

He allegedly abused facilities and diverted equipment for personal use and was also fingered in some underhand dealings involving equipment hire from a handpicked company.

A publication reported that in 2014, Jonga requested $400 000 from the government, under the pretext that DDF did not have adequate equipment to offer tillage services to new farmers in the 2014-15 summer cropping season as the bulk of it need repairs.

Jonga took some of the equipment which included bulldozers, tractors, lorries and dam scoops, to his farm in the Selous area.

The same publication also reported that Jonga had underhand dealings with a company called Heingate owned by Danny Kasukuwere, a brother to former Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere. A source alleged that James Jonga handpicked the company to provide the same services that DDF has the capacity to carry out arguing that DDF equipment had defects.

Jonga also allegedly diverted equipment to Misheck Sibanda's farm in Kwekwe.[3]

US$5 million tender scandal

Jonga was fingered in a US$5 million tender scandal involving the company Podilla Ventures which won a tender to supply tractors to the DDF. Podilla Ventures had a bank guarantee but DDF, at Jonga’s instigation, reversed the tender deal and allegedly awarded it to a handpicked company that had not even bid.

The tender was awarded to a Chinese company that was handpicked by James Jonga and DDF director and former deputy secretary in the office of the President, Justin Mupamhanga. A source said Mupamhanga was linked to tractor manufacturer John Deere and was spotted in secret meetings with the company’s managing director, Antois van Der Westhuzen.

Jonga, however, said everything was above board and the decision to reverse the tender award was reached after due diligence. He said:

"To start with, the ownership of the company was dubious and unclear. The bank guarantee they talk of was from a fragile bank."

Sources further alleged that Jonga sent falsified information to Cabinet about DDF tractor repairs and afterwards bought a Mercedes Benz E class from the proceeds.

Jonga’s child got married at Leopard Rock, and DDF funded the Rockshade-hired coaches.

Investigations also established that DDF bought a secondhand Toyota Landcruiser VX (Reg number ADV 7057) at an inflated price of US$85 000.

The car was allocated to Jonga’s nephew, Kingston Tapera, a junior employee at DDF.[4]


James Jonga died on 15 July 2021. Jonga succumbed to lung cancer and the government extended a state-assisted funeral for him. Emmerson Mnangagwa and Constantino Chiwenga issued statements mourning Jonga. [5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lloyd Gumbo, President makes senior appointments, The Herald, Published: June 28, 2014, Retrieved: July 16, 2021
  2. Anna Chibamu, Suspected car thief caught red-handed, bashed by mob, NewZimbabwe.com, Published: August 6, 2019, Retrieved: July 16, 2021
  3. DDF scandal: Jonga in equipment ‘looting’ storm, Zim Morning Post, Published: October 15, 2019, Retrieved: July 16, 2021
  4. DDF scandal: Fresh details emerge…perm sec overturns US$5 million tender, awards associate, Zim Morning Post, Published: November 11, 2019, Retrieved: July 16, 2021
  5. Bruce Chahwanda, President mourns Cde Jonga, ZBC News, Published: July 17, 2021, Retrieved: July 19, 2021