By Desmond Chingarande ZIFA president Felton Kamambo received a boost after witnesses cleared him of any wrong doing in a case he is accused of bribing his way to the presidency in December 2018.
The witnesses, who are Zifa councillors, said the money they received was for transport, food and accommodation. The State alleges Kamambo bribed the Zifa electoral college to vote for him.
Brenda Gorejena, Women’s Football board member responsible for fixtures, told the court that she received the money from Kamambo’s campaign manager, Robert Matoka, to cover for transport and food expenses during the time he launched his election manifesto.
Gorejena told the court that Kamambo did not tell her to vote for him when the money was transferred into her mobile money account.
“I met Matoka when Kamambo was campaigning for the Zifa presidency. He said the money was for food and transport when he invited me to his manifesto launch,” Gorejena told.
Kamambo’s lawyer Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara asked Gorejena whether Kamambo did anything that was not done by other candidates during the campaign period, and she replied in the negative saying: “No, I also attended other candidates’ campaigns and I remember attending one such at Cresta Lodge in Harare on the following day where Chamu Chiwanza was launching his manifesto.”
“I remember also attending Bryton (Malandule)’s campaign. I am now forgetting his surname. We incurred transport costs and Chiwanza gave us money as well. We were not being bribed since he was pitching a manifesto where he told us what he wanted to do for women’s football,” Gorejena said.
Another witness, Tafadzwa Mujuru, also from the Women’s Football board said she received $350 from Kamambo to cover food and transport costs.
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She told the court that Kamambo never indicated that the money was a bribe to vote him into office.
“I met Kamambo and he gave me $350 for food and transport. I was staying in Chitungwiza and I think it was before voting. During the manifesto, he told us what he wanted to do for women’s football,” she said..
Mujuru said the Zifa president never asked her to vote for him.
Ropafadzo Matemavi, a councillor who also voted during the elections, told the court that he received $200 from Kamambo to travel from Mutare to attend his election manifesto launch.
He further told court that Kamambo did not indicate that the money was for voting him during elections, but was for covering his travel and food expenses.
“Robert Matoka transferred $200 (into my account) for food and transport for me to travel to where the candidate was having a meeting to launch his manifesto. I was coming from Mutare and I was not aware that others had been paid as well. I had not yet voted,” he said.
Matemavi told the court that he felt that the $200 was enough for him to cover the expenses.
He said Kamambo did not indicate that the money was for bribing him to vote him for the Zifa presidency position.
The last witness Givemore Chidhakwa, who also voted during the elections, echoed the same sentiments, saying he was not bribed to vote for Kamambo.
The matter was postponed to December 16 and 17 for continuation of trial by magistrate Bianca Makwande.
Michael Reza was prosecuting.
- Follow Desmond on Twitter @DChingarande1