A FORMER officer in the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has won the MDC Alliance primary elections in Kuwadzana, throwing the cat among the pigeons in the opposition party led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa.
Johnson Matambo, who became a CIO spy in 2009 and also once served as a driver to Chamisa himself, shrugged off stiff competition to win the right to challenge for the Kuwadzana seat which fell vacant following the death of Miriam Mushayi in early September.
The primary election held on Sunday Matambo saw Matambo polling 757 votes with the closest challenger Girison Mandere polling 526. Other aspirants who fell by the wayside as the former intelligence officer romped to victory are Fabie Qabuko (243), Rebecca Nengomasha (168), and Moses Mlanji (11).
But it is the victory of Matambo which has raised interesting debates in MDC-A corridors, with some expressing reservations at the party’s ability to ward off infiltration by current and former State security agents.
Matambo trained as a security agent at the CIO training base in Msasa, Harare, before being posted to the Ministry of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in 2009.
Sources told the Zimbabwe Voice that it was at the ICT Ministry in 2009 that Matambo was allocated to the pool of drivers who served Chamisa. At the time, the Ministry’s offices were above the FBC Bank along Samora Machel close to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) building.
“Matambo, either by lucky or by the scheming tactics of the Robert Mugabe regime, ended up as Chamisa’s personal driver and the two just clicked,” said the source.
While Matambo is from Gokwe district in the Midlands Province, he has wormed his way into MDC-A Kuwadzana structures using the fact that his parents have a house into the residential area. That is not unusual, however, as the late Learnmore Jongwe also won the Kuwadzana seat for the MDC in 2000 yet he was from Zhombe, also in the Midlands Province.
The late Jongwe, just like Matambo, considered an urban seat much safer than rural constituencies where the ruling Zanu-PF has a stranglehold.
Matambo served as Chamisa’s driver up to the end of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in July 2013, before “disappearing” off the radar of MDC structures in Kuwadzana, it has emerged.
He then was to resurface as an employee of a Government-linked humanitarian organisation with offices in Milton Park. At around 2017, Johnson again found his way back to Chamisa’s close security team when Tsvangirai appointed Chamisa to MDC Vice President under controversial circumstances in 2017.
Asked about his past State security background, Matambo refused to comment. “No comment,” he said.
However, an acquaintance of his agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.
“Let’s get things right, I have known Matambo since 2009 when he was residing in Warren Park. He is a committed MDC Alliance activist, despite his CIO past. – Zimbabwe Voice