Jacob Mafume Biography: Early Life | Education | Career | Controversies | Personal Life
Jacob Mafume (also Jacob Mapfume) is a Zimbabwean politician, lawyer and human rights activist. He is the current mayor of Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, and a member of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), a political party led by Nelson Chamisa.
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Early Life and Education
Mafume was born in Zimbabwe and attended Gokomere High School. He then enrolled at the University of Zimbabwe, where he studied law from 1996 to 2000. He also served as the secretary general of the University of Zimbabwe Students’ Union.
Jacob Mafume Law Career
Mafume is a lawyer with Mapunga Bhatasara Attorneys, a law firm based in Harare. He has also worked for Retina Properties and a Norwegian organisation called Studentene og Akademikernes Internasjonale Hjelpefond.
Mafume is a founding member of the original Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), a major opposition party in Zimbabwe. He was expelled from the party in 2014 after he called for the resignation of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, along with Elton Mangoma, Promise Mkwananzi and Last Maengahama. They formed a splinter group called the MDC Renewal Team, which later merged with other parties to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), led by Tendai Biti.
In the 2013 general elections, Mafume contested for the Harare South parliamentary seat, but lost to Shadreck Mashayamombe of Zanu-PF, the ruling party.
In 2018, Mafume joined the MDC Alliance, a coalition of seven opposition parties that challenged Zanu-PF in the general elections. He was elected as the councillor for Harare Ward 17 (Mt Pleasant) on an MDC Alliance ticket. He also held the position of deputy secretary for local government in the MDC Alliance.
On 3 September 2020, Mafume was elected as the mayor of Harare, replacing Herbert Gomba, who was recalled from his position by the MDC-T faction led by Thokozani Khupe. Mafume won 19 votes against Luckson Mukunguma’s 14 votes in an election that was held at Town House.
Mafume has faced several legal challenges and arrests during his political career. He has been accused of criminal abuse of office, corruption, fraud and contempt of court in relation to his role as mayor and councillor. He has also been suspended from his mayoral duties by the Local Government Minister July Moyo pending investigations.
Mafume has denied all the allegations against him and claimed that they are politically motivated and meant to frustrate his efforts to improve service delivery in Harare. He has also accused the government of interfering with the affairs of the city council and undermining its autonomy.
Jacob Mafume Personal Life
Mafume is married and has four children. His mother, Maina Mawoneyi Mafume, died on 17 March 2023 at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals after a long battle with heart disease.