Former Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi who rose to fame as Amai Jukwa, has claimed that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba is having an affair with married Mines Minister Winston Chitando and “this presents a clear conflict of interest: if Zanu PF loses the election her lover will lose his job. She must do the right thing and resign.”
“Chigumba is a judge of the High Court and she knows the implications of perjuring herself. If she denies and I prove, she is finished. Chigumba knows that her sexual relationship with Chitando is a fact. Her silence in the face of a screaming scandal is a testament to this,’ Kudzayi tweeted.
“These allegations expose me to the real possibility of prolonged and expensive legal action. Chigumba and Chitando have the money and influence. I have the truth, which they know. My work has been thorough and I am able and ready to defend it in a court of law, any time.
“Zimbabwe needs men and women of integrity to lead our constitutional bodies. Chigumba is not a woman of integrity or moral conviction. She has proven to be a Zanu PF puppet who was placed in the ZEC chair because, like Mudede and Makarau, she’s ready and willing to play ball.
“The ZEC chairperson is the last line of defence against electoral malpractice. As such, the person must be an upstanding member of society with probity that’s beyond reproach. Can a woman who has an affair with a married cabinet minister be such a person? The answer is no.
“We have seen a contrived and desperate ballot paper illegally designed to favour Mnangagwa. We have seen Zanu PF using VR phone numbers to illegally text voters. We have seen Chigumba illegally wearing a Zanu PF scarf. ZEC is obstinate & accountable to Zanu PF, not the voter.
“I don’t intend to humiliate Chigumba or to invade her privacy tabloid style. All I seek is to expose a clear conflict of interest that likely explains Chigumba’s arrogance against overwhelming evidence of ZEC’s mismanagement of the election. She is conflicted and must resign.
During a live interview with Harare-based radio station Capitalk Chigumba this week said: “I am not in any sexual relationship or any relationship whatsoever which has the potential or is likely to jeopardise my ability to discharge my functions.”
She told presenter Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa: “To answer you very expressly: I am not in a sexual relationship with a presidential candidate.”
After Chigumba’s denial, Kudzayi persisted with his allegations, alleging Chigumba was in a relationship with a married member of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cabinet.
“I did not say anything about national security. She has placed herself in this position by having an adulterous affair. Furthermore, this affair with a married Zanu PF cabinet minister presents a conflict of interest that voters must be made aware of. I offer no apologies.
“36 hours ago, emissaries approached a former colleague at Zimpapers. Their objective was to meet with and persuade me not to publish details of Justice Chigumba’s sexual relationship with a Zanu PF cabinet minister. I declined their request for a meeting. 1/4
“However, I agreed to engage the emissaries on the understanding that the public had a right to know if Chigumba was conflicted. I further agreed that it would be unnecessary to name the minster in question IF Chigumba publicly accepted that the allegation is true. 2/4
“A public statement was drafted and I have a copy. However, the statement could only be released after it was approved by Chigumba’s superiors. I am writing this thread now because those superiors, whoever they are, have not (yet) approved the release of Chigumba’s statement. 3/4
“The minister in question has engaged me very professionally and accepts that this is not personal. I have no interest in exposing his family to unnecessary humiliation. I am thus extending my deadline to Friday 1500hrs to give Chigumba time for her to do the right thing. 4/4.” Kudzayi tweeted.
With elections just 10 days away, Chigumba has come under fire from opposition supporters for failing to ensure transparency over the commission’s work.
Public anger against her mounted late last week after it was alleged that police officers in Bulawayo had been forced to vote in front of their commanding officers.
But in Monday’s radio interview Chigumba said her commission had received no complaints from any police officer being forced to vote openly. She defended herself against her critics saying: “I must balance being nice, being liked and simply telling the truth.”