FIRED Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire’s love-hate relationship with President Robert Mugabe is a perfect example of how one can resurrect from political obscurity to political stardom, and then fall back again to the political dustbins — all in the blink of an eye. Mavhaire is one of the longest-serving ZANU-PF officials who have fallen from grace after being linked to a litany of allegations, including attempts to topple President Mugabe.
The biggest casualty is obviously Joice Mujuru, who was axed from government having served as Vice President of the Republic for 10 years. Mujuru, along with Mavhaire and eight others were fired from government after several weeks of attacks on their persons, led by the State media. Even before the sacking, they had already suffered a fair share of losses, having lost their positions in other party organs.
Mavhaire, along with Mujuru and many others perceived to be allies of the sacked Vice President, were booted out of the ZANU-PF Central Committee for fanning factionalism and working against President Mugabe. By virtue of not being in the Central Committee, which is the policy-making organ of the party, they also forfeited their chances of landing Politburo positions. The Politburo is ZANU-PF’s supreme decision-making organ in-between congresses.
With their dismissal from Cabinet, it means that those shown the door in these powerful organs of the party and government revert to being ordinary card-carrying members of ZANU-PF. It, however, does not end there. Indications are that Mavhaire and many others in similar situations could be dismissed from ZANU-PF, marking the end of an era.
As for Mavhaire, his relationship with President Mugabe has been an uneasy one. The pint-sized politician from Masvingo province was famed for his “Mugabe must go” mantra that saw him relegated to the political dustbins and reduced to a vendor in his home province where he was selling oranges at Mucheke Bus terminus with a ramshackle vehicle that often needed a push to start.
Mavhaire once said President Mugabe should “go” and hand over power to new blood, but nobody in the forum in which he moved the motion supported his position. For that, he was punished for several years and became a pale shadow of his former self. He lived an ordinary life, supported through farming at his parcel of land a few kilometres outside Masvingo town.
Few thought he would bounce back, considering the gravity of his crime and President Mugabe’s nature. The incumbent is considered to be a “forgiver who hardly forgets”. Nobody thought he would recover from his fallout with President Mugabe. To the surprise of many, Mavhaire was to have his second coming, as he was later given a Cabinet post. Mavhaire, who is considered by many to be a shrewd politician, started picking up the bits and pieces.
In 2008, he contested for a senatorial post, but was defeated by the party’s Maina Mandava in primary elections considered rigged in favour of the latter to eliminate Mavhaire. But he did not tire. He then got his “Lazarus moment” when he was later compensated with a Politburo post — secretary for production and labour. From there on, considered to be his political resurrection, he rode on the fame of his newly formed farmer organisation, the South East Growers Association (SEGA) to garner support and he became Mujuru’s blue eyed boy, organising rallies under the guise of SEGA prize giving and field days.
He also woke up one day to tell the world that he was the director of Bikita Minerals and became influential in the lucrative sugar growing Lowveld region of Chiredzi. Despite having a fight over supremacy with his nemesis, Josiah Hungwe, also a Politburo member and former governor over ZANU -PF, Mavhaire got the last laugh after then secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, endorsed him and set the record straight telling party supporters that Mavhaire was more senior than Hungwe.
Hungwe, at his rallies in the run up to the 2013 polls, had claimed to be more senior than Mavhaire in the province. But Mavhaire’s second retributive sacking by President Mugabe leaves his long time rival, Hungwe — with whom he has been locked in a dispute of party seniority in Masvingo — laughing louder. Mavhaire who is senator for Masvingo province and his deputy Munacho Mutezo, the Chimanimani West legislator, stand accused of funding and propping the Mujuru faction, using funds from ZESA Holdings, a parastatal under their former ministry.
President Mugabe warned over the weekend that those caught on the wrong side of the law will be arrested. This leaves Mavhaire facing a bleak future as he might end up being hauled before the courts. This is the second time that Mavhaire has fallen foul with President Mugabe, leaving him stripped of his ministerial powers and the benefits and trappings that come along with it. Such has been his from grass to grace, and back to grass tale.
And few believe Mavhaire will have a brace and bounce back to grace again — unless of course, a miracle happens, as anything can change overnight in politics. Rick McDaniel, an American author, writing on comebacks, once said comebacks are possible; in fact, they happen all the time.
“Yet, if you have had a setback, a comeback may seem impossible to you. Life is full of setbacks, no matter who you are. Financial problems, health issues, divorce, loss of a loved one — these and many more visit all of us. The challenge is how you can overcome your setback. How do you take a setback and make a comeback?
“…Unless you change what you are presently doing or not doing, things are going to remain the same; there will be no comeback. You have to be willing to do things differently from what you’ve done up to this point. Change happens when you receive new information or gain new knowledge — this is a change of mind. Change happens when you get a new attitude, when you decide that your way of thinking is going to change — this is a change of heart. Change always happens when you choose to be committed — this will change your future.” —