Exiled businessman, James Makamba has for the first time spoken out about the widespread rumours of an affair with the First Lady, Grace Mugabe.
He said he had decided to speak out "to set the record straight and, thereby, take some of the public pressure off his family."
Makamba said allegations about the Grace Mugabe affair surfaced during the late 1990s when, along with other members of the Zanu PF Central Committee, he was working with Grace Mugabe on international fund-raising initiatives focused on improving the lives of Zimbabwean women and children.
Previously, Makamba had done similar work with President Mugabe's first wife, the late Amai Sally Mugabe. The funds raised were used to build schools, orphanages, and old age homes, set up bursaries, establish development organisations, and implement rural electrification programmes.
Makamba dismisses the allegations by pointing out that "these are 24×7 projects. All of us were in one another's company more or less continuously. Rumours were bound to arise. But, in African culture, every woman you encounter is a mother or a sister, depending on her age. We all respected the social barriers such terms imply."
Last month Makamba said he could come home to Zimbabwe anytime he wants to visit his sister whom he said is seriously ill and hospitalised at Parirenyatwa. He denied he was negotiating his return to the country saying there was nothing to negotiate.
However, a popular faceless Facebook user and self-proclaimed Zanu PF insider, Baba Jukwa, warned James Makamba against coming to Zimbabwe anytime soon over the rumours of his affair with the First Lady. This was one of Baba Jukwa's first messages which he published on his page in March this year.
In 2004 Makamba was arrested during a financial crackdown that targeted dozens of businessmen alleged to have externalised foreign currency. He spent a significant amount of time in custody and was denied bail more than 13 times.
Makamba exited the country in 2005 after being charged with violating the Exchange Control Act. He skipped bail and fled the country as the state prosecuted him on charges of allegedly externalising £3.7 million, $2.1 million and R15 million.
Several businessmen and high profile politicians have also been accused of dating the First Lady. So disturbing and tarnishing are the rumours that some of the implicated persons have had difficulties in trying to refute and quell the unfounded allegations. Chief among them was RBZ governor, who was once accussed of dating the First Lady.
Several media websites even published the claims and other rogue graphic designers went to the extent of designing images with Dr Gono and Amai Grace Mugabe waving at each other. The images were clearly designed using the award-wining graphic designing software, Photoshop.