Zimbabwe telecoms tycoon James Makamba is finally getting his property back more than 14 years after it was seized by the Mugabe government over allegations that he was bedding Grace Mugabe.
Makamba was recently informed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government that they will be returning his shopping complex on Maryvale Farm, Mazowe, which is popularly known as Blue Ridge.
Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Perrance Shiri confirmed that the government was indeed returning Makamba’s business properties. These include the Blue Ridge Spar/Sweet Valley supermarket and two other shops located at the shopping centre. Although the relevant paperwork is still to be completed, the Herald reports that Minister Shiri authorised Makamba to take control of the shopping centre.
Makamba was allocated the farm during the land reform process. He then secured loans which he used to build the shopping centre from scratch as well as a road coming up to the centre.
However, Makamba fled the country in 2005 and went into self-exile for 13 years following a spectacular fallout with Mugabe. Makamba only returned to Zimbabwe following the ouster of Mugabe through a military coup in November 2017.
Makamba said that he had fled into exile because former President Robert Mugabe wanted to have him killed. Mugabe is alleged to have suspected that Makamba was having an adulterous affair with his wife, former First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Speaking through his lawyer, Charles Chinyama, at the Harare Magistrates Court, Makamba told the court:
Your worship my client was under genuine belief that his life was in danger. It was not in danger of the body of his person, but could have been killed if he continued residing in the country. The person whom he (Makamba) suspected may harm him is none other than the former Head of State Robert Mugabe who suspected that he was dating his wife, Grace. That man was viewed as the law unto himself.