MASVINGO — Former Finance minister Samuel Mumbengegwi has now sunk into political oblivion after losing his parliamentary seat in 2008 forcing him to take up a job as a lecturer at a local university.
The former Zanu PF provincial chairman, who held several Cabinet portfolios including that of Higher and Tertiary Education, is now one of the lecturers at the Great Zimbabwe University’s education faculty.
Gone are the days when the former minister would move with bodyguards, grace important events as guest of honour and work from an air-conditioned executive office. As lecturer at GZU, Mumbengegwi has now been condemned to office 10, Mutirikwi Block, which he shares with other lecturers. Unconfirmed reports say the former Chivi MP, who has a farm near Gutu Growth Point, has fallen on hard times, a move that forced him to seek employment for survival.
Mumbengegwi was seen arriving at the university this week with a huge folder, presumably containing students’ assignments and lecture notes. He confirmed that he was now a lecturer at GZU.
“Yes, I am now at GZU. Work is okay,” he said in a telephone interview.
But he denied running away from his constituency.
“I have not dumped the constituency. I am still on the ground helping people here and there,” he said. However, Mumbengegwi abruptly ended the conversation before he could be drawn into disclosing why he left politics as well as his future plans.
In 2002, when he was Higher Education Minister, Mumbengegwi was slammed by rights groups for his compulsory conscription plan where he said students would only be given certificates after completing the national youth service training. In 2007, President Robert Mugabe, in his Cabinet reshuffle, handed him the powerful Finance portfolio, which he took over from Hebert Murerwa.
But things turned sour for him when, at the close of parliamentary nomination in 2008, Mumbengegwi filed his papers to stand on a party ticket despite losing in the ZANU PF primary elections.
He however withdrew his candidature when his party announced that all those who would stand as independents would be expelled.