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Ex-ZIFA President Felton Kamambo Acquitted Of Bribery Charges

Once accused of bribing his way into the presidency of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), Felton Kamambo’s legal journey has ended with an acquittal. Regional magistrate Bianca Makwande delivered the verdict after an extensive trial where the State’s case against Kamambo fell short of evidence.

In her ruling, Mrs. Makwande highlighted the State’s failure to substantiate claims of bribery against Kamambo, particularly in proving that agents were bribed. The key witness, Robert Matoka, who served as Kamambo’s elections campaign manager, disowned his previous statement regarding bribery, further weakening the prosecution’s case.

The outcome of the trial marks a significant moment for Kamambo, clearing his name from the allegations that had clouded his tenure at ZIFA.

“To make matters worse for the State, the key witness Mr Robert Matoka, who was the accused’s campaign manager, disowned his statement that he had reported to ZIFA that the accused was paying bribes to delegates.

“He maintained that this money was to cover expenses for delegates who were invited to the campaigns and was not bribe money,” she said.

During cross-examination, Mr. Matoka reiterated that he had been pressured into making false statements about bribery by the accused’s rival, Mr. Phillip Chiyangwa.

Additionally, Mrs. Makwande noted that the defense successfully argued that the State had not adequately proven the crucial element of an “agent” in the case.

“It argued that though the evidence shows that the delegates were voters, there is no evidence to prove that they were agents. It was not proved whose agents they were. It is submitted that section 169 of the Code does not give the State a blank cheque to call everyone an agent.”

Mrs. Makwande remarked that given these circumstances, the court couldn’t confidently conclude that the money Kamambo deposited into voters’ accounts were either gifts or incentives for them to vote for him during the ZIFA elections.

Additionally, it would seem logical that if Kamambo were indeed bribing voters, considering the number of expected voters, he would have needed to pay more voters to secure at least 50 percent of the vote.

In his defense, Kamambo informed the court that he didn’t achieve a clear victory in the initial round of voting. He claimed victory only after his opponent withdrew from the second round of the contest.

The prosecution alleged that Kamambo paid US$8,310 to 25 delegates as bribes for their votes. Consequently, on December 16, 2018, due to the purported inducements by Kamambo, he received 35 votes against Mr. Chiyangwa’s 24 votes.

Kamambo was represented in court by his attorney, Mr. Admire Rubaya.

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