Olivia Muchena was a respected technocrat with political savvy and a sensible proponent of indigenisation and economic liberation, according to the United States embassy in Harare.
This was what the embassy said in her short biography after she had been appointed Minister of Science and Technology in August 2002.
The embassy said her ministry had been created to help the government address the development of science and technology.
Muchena was formerly the Minister of State in Vice-President Joseph Msika’s Office. She has also served as deputy Minister of Agriculture.
She spent a large part of her career in education and working for non-governmental organisations.
Muchena participated in the liberation struggle both as a student activist at the University of Rhodesia and as a member and chairperson of ZANU branches in Edinburgh and Rochester-Syracuse-Ithaca, New York.
She received a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education (extension) from Iowa State University in 1990, a MS in Extension and Rural Development from Cornell in 1977, and a BA from University College of Rhodesia in 1970.
She was born on 18 August 1946.
Viewing cable 02HARARE1982, ZIMBABWE CABINET BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 001982
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR CGURNEY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER
PARIS FOR NEARY
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/2012
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE CABINET BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION
REF: HARARE 01943
Classified By: Political Officer Kimberly Jemison for reasons: 1.5 (b)
¶1. (C) Reftel reported President Mugabe’s August 24 cabinet
reshuffle. As promised reftel, we provide below additional
biographic information on the new appointees (we have not
included cabinet members who retained the same portfolios):
Ministry of Energy and Power Development
Amos Bernard Muvenga Midzi is the new Minister for this
Ministry resulting from the division of the Ministry of Mines
and Energy. Amos Midzi has had a long career in government
and most recently has served as ZANU-PF Provincial Chairman
for Harare since April 2001. Prior to that, Midzi served as
ambassador to the U.S. from 1993 to 1999 and Ambassador to
Cuba from 1987 to 1993. Midzi was elected to Parliament in
1980 and served until the mid-1980s. From 1982-84, he served
as the Deputy Minister of Transport and from 1984-87 as the
Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, and Culture. He was also a
member of the ZANU-PF Central Committee from 1984-89.
Midzi began his studies at the University of Rhodesia in 1974
but was subsequently arrested for participation in liberation
activities and spent 3 years in political detention. Midzi
later returned to the University and received a degree in
sociology in 1979. He was born on July 4, 1952. He is
married (Alice) and has three children. He is a member of
the Zezuru ethnic group*the same as Mugabe.
Reuben Marumahoko, Deputy Minister: Reuben Marumahoko was MP
for Hurungwe East before becoming Deputy Minister. His seat
was one challenged and won by the MDC in the High Court but
no by-election has yet been held. He is a businessman and
is married. He is a ZANU-PF branch political commissar. He
has an O level education and a diploma in business
management. Marumahoko was born on April 4, 1948.
Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise Development
Sithembiso Nyoni is the Minister of this newly created
Ministry. Mugabe elevated the former Informal Sector
department in the president,s office, which Nyoni headed, to
a full ministry in order to boost the informal sector with
facilities and financial support.
Nyoni is from Bulawayo’s Makokoba constituency and was born
on 20 September 1949. She is married. Prior to being
elected to Parliament in 1994, she was a teacher, development
consultant, and a lecturer. She has worked in rural
development and in women in development. She has a diploma
in rural and social development, an advanced diploma in adult
education, and a M.A. in rural social development.
Kenneth Kaparadza Mutiwekuziva, Deputy Minister: Kenneth
Mutiwekuziva was a MP from Mashonaland East prior to assuming
this position. He has a diploma in education, Administration
and Policy Studies. He is married and was born on May 27,
Ministry of Mines and Mining Development
Edward Chindori-Chininga, who was the Minister of Mines and
Energy, will head this Ministry. Its focus is to resuscitate
closed mines and assist those facing operational
difficulties. The Ministry will also ensure that small-scale
miners (gold panners) are organized, do not damage the
environment, and sell their product to the Reserve Bank and
not on the black market. It will also explore marble,
granite, diamond, and platinum mining. Chindori-Chininga’s
wife, Linda, is an American citizen from Houston.
Ministry of State for Special Affairs
John Landa Nkomo, an Ndebele, is the head of this newly
formed sub-ministry. There is no indication of what his new
responsibilities will be but Brian Raftopoulos, one of
Zimbabwe,s most perceptive political analysts, thought the
assignment could be a prelude to the Vice Presidency. It
could be a way to disengage him from day-to-day ministerial
responsibilities and give him a chance to acquire a broader
perspective in preparation for his new duties. Nkomo was the
Minister of Home Affairs prior to this appointment. He is
still the ZANU-PF National Chair. John Nkomo was born on
August 22, 1934 and is married.
Ministry of State, Science and Technology Development
Olivia Muchena is the Minister of this new office created to
help the government address the development of science and
technology. Olivia Muchena was formerly the Minister of
State in VP Msika,s Office. She has also served as Deputy
Minister of Agriculture. She has spent a large part of her
career in education and working in the NGO world. In the
past, she was considered a respected technocrat with
political savvy and a sensible proponent of indigenization
and economic liberalization, but we have had little recent
contact with her.
Muchena participated in the liberation struggle both as a
student activist at the University of Rhodesia and as a
member and chairperson of ZANU branches in Edinburgh (UK) and
Rochester-Syracuse-Ithaca, New York.
She received a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education (extension)
from Iowa State University in 1990, a M.S. in Extension and
Rural Development from Cornell in 1977, and a B.A. from
University College of Rhodesia in 1970. Olivia Muchena was
born on August 18, 1946.
Ministry of Transport and Communications
Witness Pasichigare Magunda Mangwende is the new Minister
replacing Swithun Mombeshora. Prior to his appointment,
Mangwende was serving as ZANU-PF,s deputy secretary for
administration. He has held several ministerial positions,
including Minister of Lands, Agriculture, and Rural
Resettlement; Minister of Education and Culture; and Minister
of Foreign Affairs from 1981-87.
Mangwende studied for his doctorate in international
relations at the London School of Economics during the years
of national struggle. He was the President of ZANU,s
Zimbabwe Student Union. For his undergraduate education, he
first attended the University of Rhodesia from 1970 to 1973
but was expelled. He subsequently attended the University of
Southampton in England where he received a B.A. in
Mangwende was born on October 15, 1946 in Charter. He is
married and has no children. Mangwende may have a drinking
Ministry of Home Affairs
Kembo Mohadi is the new Minister replacing John Nkomo. He
was promoted from Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public
Works, and National Housing.
Mohadi is a former member of ZIPRA (Zimbabwe African
People,s Revolutionary Army), the armed wing of PF ZAPU
during the war. He is currently in the middle of an ongoing
murder investigation involving his wife,s &alleged8 lover.
Some within law enforcement and the victim,s family feel
the investigation will be undermined because Mohadi is now in
charge of the police force. As mentioned in reftel, Mohadi
has intervened personally to try to exert control over NGO
food distribution efforts.
Mohadi was born on November 15, 1949.
Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
Herbert Murerwa is the new Minister replacing Simba Makoni.
He was moved from the Ministry of Industry and International
Trade to take over the position of Minister of Finance and
Economic Development, a position he previously held from
1996-2000. He was the Minister of Industry and Commerce from
1995 to 1996; appointed the Minister of Environment and
Tourism in 1990; and was the High Commissioner to the UK from
Murerwa received a Ph.D. from Harvard in educational planning
but he has no economic expertise. Murerwa was born in 1941.
He and his wife, Ruth, have 5 children.
Ministry of Industry and International Trade
Samuel Mumbengegwi is the new Minister replacing Herbert
Murerwa. Samuel Mumbengegwi was moved from the Minsitry of
Higher Education and Technology.
Kenneth Manyonda, Deputy Minister: Kenneth Manyonda was an MP
from Buhera South before becoming Deputy Minister. MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai lost the 2000 parliamentary election
to Manyonda, but won his High Court challenge of Manyonda’s
victory. The GOZ has not yet fulfilled its obligation to
schedule a re-run of this election. Manyonda was governor of
Manicaland prior to the Parliamentary elections. Manyonda
was born on August 10, 1934.
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare
David Parirenyatwa is the new Minister replacing Timothy
Stamps. David Parirenyatwa had been Deputy Minister of
Health and Child Welfare since 1998 but had been Acting
Minister since Stamps’ illness. Parirenyatwa was elected
into the ZANU-PF provincial executive in 1989 and in 1994 was
appointed a ZANU-PF Central Committee Member. In November
1997, he won the Parliamentary by-election for Murehwa North
and became a Member of Parliament the following month.
Parirenyatwa, born on August 2, 1950, is the eldest son of
legendary Zimbabwe nationalist Dr. Samuel Parirenyatwa,
Zimbabwe,s first black doctor. He seems to be
well-connected but is a silent tye. He has a M.D., a B.SC.
in chemistry from the University of London, and a M.B. BSC
from Lagos University. He is married and has 3 children.
Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education
Swithun Tachiona Mombeshora is the new Minister replacing
Samuel Mumbengegwi. Swithun Mombeshora was moved from the
Ministry of Transport and Communications. Mombeshora has
been in government since independence. After receiving an
undergraduate degree in 1972 from University College of
Rhodesia, received a medical degree from University of
Birmingham in the mid-1970s. He practiced medicine full-time
until becoming a Member of Parliament for Makonde North in
¶1980. In 1981, he was appointed Deputy Minister of
Agriculture and in 1985 he was moved to Deputy Minister of
Lands, Agriculture, and Rural Resettlement. From 1988 to
1990 he was the Deputy Minister of Health and in 1990 he was
appointed Minister of State for Local Government, Rural and
Urban Development. In 1998, he became Minister of State in
the President,s Office.
Mombeshora was born on August 20, 1945. He and his wife,
Lucy, have 3 sons and 3 daughters.
Ministry of State for State Enterprises and Parastatals
Paul Mangwana is the new Minister. Paul Mangwana, who had
been the Deputy Justice Minister since July 2001, assumes
this position. In July 2000, he became the ZANU-PF MP for
Kadoma. He is on the ZANU-PF legal committee.
We have had limited dealings with Mangwana over the last year
but he seemed to have moderate views and to be trying to
silently influence the old guard in ZANU-PF. He will not
openly challenge senior officials and is more apt to tow the
party line. Mangwana is a lawyer by training. He is
married, has 4 children (3 sons and 1 daughter), and was born
on August 10, 1961.
Ministry of State for Land Reform
Flora Bhuka is the new Minister. Bhuka, one of the youngest
MPs in Parliament, was formerly the Minister of State in VP
Muzenda,s office before assuming this position. Bhuka won
the 2000 Parliamentary seat for Gokwe East after successfully
beating out the incumbent in the primary. Before becoming a
MP, Bhuka was political commissar (since 1997) and from
1990-1995, she was a teacher in the Midlands region. She is
a gender activist and an advocate for modernizing the
educational system. Flora Bhuka is 34 years old and was born
in Gokwe. She is not married and has 2 children.
Ministry of local Government, Public Works, and National
Chief Fortune Charumbira is the new Deputy Minister. Chief
Fortune Charumbira was the Masvingo chiefs, representative
in Parliament prior to becoming Deputy Minister. He is an
outspoken supporter of the land redistribution exercise. He
is married and was born on June 10, 1962.
Ministry of Rural Resources and Water Development
Tinos Rusere is the new Deputy Minister. Tinos Rusere was MP
of Zaka East (one of the country’s most violent districts in
the period preceding the presidential election) before
becoming Deputy Minister. He is an outspoken supporter of
the land redistribution exercise. He has an O level
education with diplomas in civil engineering, mining, and
personnel management. His interests include going to church
and listening to gospel music. Rusere was born on May 10,
Ministry of Mines and Mining Development
Jaison Max Kokerai Machaya is the new Deputy Minister.
Jaison Machaya was an MP from Gokwe South before becoming
Deputy Minister. He is married, has an O level education,
and was born on June 13, 1952.