There is life after politics – Matinenga

OUTGOING Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga said he was glad to be leaving government as Cabinet posts were often associated with a culture of corruption. He said he was proud to have worked in a ministry which managed to deliver a new Constitution for the country. The minister, who was also Buhera West MP said there was no need for a bloated Cabinet in Zimbabwe. The following are excerpts of an interview with NewsDay Senior Parliamentary Reporter Veneranda Langa (ND) and Matinenga (EM).

Report by Veneranda Langa

ND: Minister, you are the only member of the Executive who made an announcement that you will be retiring from government. What are you going to be doing after your retirement?

EM: I will be going back to my law practice the moment a new President is sworn in. I am going back to advocates chambers. I certainly think that I was enriched by my participation in government and I thank God I am one of those who managed to retire from a Cabinet post. I consider myself lucky that I had that political experience, but I have always said that I am still of the view there is life after politics and that is why I am retiring.

ND: Are you completely retiring from active politics, including being a member of the MDC-T?

EM: It does not mean that because I am not an active MP or minister then I leave politics. Although I will no longer be Buhera West MP I will always be available to them and discuss issues with them, as well as assist in issues of development and governance. I want to stay with those people as the best times I have ever had in politics have been with the people of Buhera West. Before I even came into Parliament I was always involved with the people of Buhera. For now I still consider myself as a member of the MDC-T. I have always been a member and I am hoping the path which MDC-T will follow will be one I am going to be happy to be associated with.

ND: Would you say that leaving a Cabinet post for the advocates’ chambers is a climb-down?

EM: This is where people make huge mistakes. For people to believe being a government minister is the end of everything is wrong. There is a difference between being a ruler and a servant. Being a minister is actually one of the lowest positions because you are a servant of the people. In our culture being a minister comes with pomp and ceremony and is associated with corrupt patronage and I am glad I am leaving this post.

ND: Your ministry managed to deliver a new Constitution for Zimbabwe. Would you like to say something about it?

EM: It was a very difficult time and it needed a lot of patience, reading the mood of different people and I am glad I managed to stay up to its final conclusion. I am happy I was part of this historic process.

ND: Now that Zanu PF has a two-thirds majority in Parliament, what is your view on such a scenario and the Eighth Parliament?

EM: There is going to be 49 MPs from the MDC-T and two independent legislators. In reality those two said they were Zanu PF and so we will have a situation whereby Zanu PF has a two-thirds majority. However, I still think there is a place for the 49 MDC-T MPs to be heard in the sense that they need to represent the interests of those persons who voted them into Parliament. That is where I differ when people say Parliament should be boycotted. I think it is not fair and it is not tactical to surrender that democratic space. It is different to boycotting Cabinet because when you are invited into Cabinet, you accept the invitation on the basis that you are going to behave like Zanu PF, but in Parliament you are going to behave on the terms and conditions of those people who voted for you.

ND: What are your comments on the just ended elections?

EM: I am yet to see anybody today who is euphoric about the results of this election. I was attending a ceremony somewhere and someone there said that there are many little good things in Zimbabwe to the extent that when we have electricity blackouts and whenever the power comes back we are euphoric that Zesa power is back. But when you look at this election, it is a non-event and there is nobody who is euphoric about it because of the extent of cheating. People are saying what are we going to do during these five years given the shrinking democratic space and that there is uncertainty in the economic and social fabric caused by the stolen elections. I do not respect this so-called election victory. It is quite clear that Zimbabweans should appreciate we are on our own and we need to start afresh and say how do we re-group and move forward after this devastation? I liken it to a team at half-time whose coach keeps saying they need to win since they still have another 45 minutes. We need to finish off.

ND: Would you say the withdrawal by the MDC-T from the ConCourt of their election challenge was wise?

EM: I am sure that the MDC-T has a valid reason to do that. They are not withdrawing because they are accepting that Mugabe won, but because of other good reasons.

ND: Do you think the ministry will be disbanded?

EM: While it was appropriate to have a fully fledged Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs ministry at that time, it might not be necessary to have a standalone ministry now that the Constitution is fully done. The ministry might become a department elsewhere because Zimbabwe is such a small economy and country. If we are going to be serious in meeting the expectations of people of this country, we cannot have more than 16 ministries in this country. There is need to rationalise and have a lean administration. This business of having ministers and resident ministers was all about patronage and giving jobs to the boys. I am hoping that when a new Cabinet is formed issues of having a bloated Cabinet should not be a necessity. It was necessary during the inclusive government.

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  1. Powerful words! I salute you despite the tsunami (theft of people’s power)

    1. A true professional. a man of integrity! We need more such men and not the lot that we have who are selfserving, arrogant, corrupt, greedy and unprincipled!

  2. Whilst Mugabe clearly stole the elections, there are 2things we shall defend with sweat and blood
    1. Fair democracy. One man one vote
    2. The just voted People driven constitution

  3. Good man. we need more of this type of sober thinking and selfless contribution in our political dialogue,.

    1. Great man. Signalling need for a new beginning and definitely with sober and service driven leadership.Whether there is evidence of rigging or not, Morgan is a liability. The sooner the people realise that the better. Unless people remain drugged by the opium that some dubious characters are spreading about the mysterious emergence of Mooo. Somebody once said religion is the opium of the oppressed.

  4. lets focus on development and service provision

  5. Baba tinokutendai nebasa guru ramakaita nevamwe vakashanda zvakanaka mumabazi akasiyanasiyana kudzikunura Zimbabwe payanga yasvitswa uye kuvandudza upenyu wemhomho yevana veZimbabwe. On the issue of stolen elections God and Only Him will vindicate Zimbabwe. Mwari ngavakukomborerei nemhuri yenyu nevamwe vose vakashanda mu Hurumende yeGNU zvisina udyire kusanganisira mhuri yemushakabvu Chindorichineninga

  6. Mushoma webuhera

    Zvakaitwa musoni am proud of yu ngatione mumwe minister anobve buhera wepf tione chachabata

  7. Its the jornos who think if one leaves the post of a minister its a climb down. Samuel Mumbengegwi is now a lecturer and the jornos terms it a climb down. Ministers are appointed at the pleasure of the president and both the presidential and ministrial positions are not suppose to be permanent.

  8. Funny you don’t tell your leader that the new constitution, which you say is heroic does not permit you to withdraw once you have submitted that kind of challenge in the con-court. Why do you stab your leader in the back. Its disgusting.

  9. One man one vote. Freedom now! Kwacha!

  10. We really do celebrate mediocrity. Over 4 years leading a process to produce a single document! Most of it through copy and paste! And from the recent developments the chap doesn’t seem to understand it otherwise he would have advised his colleagues appropriately.

    The fact that your party lost does not mean the elections were stolen, it simple means when the ballots were counted, more people voted for ZANU-PF. A total waste of space and ministerial resources, good riddance to bad rubbish.

  11. Grapes are sour.

    1. Kumbirayi Samanyika

      Well done Eric on a fine job done.Pity that you have to live after this TSUNAMI executed with such brutal and unforgiving efficiency of vote rigging!

  12. We need more of such kind of men. Politics is not the end of life!!!

  13. thanks man. wish some people would know that being a legislator or Minister is not a career

  14. Only the first minister to leave office welldone Mr Matinenga for sure there is life after politics. Siyayi vasingadi kubva pazvigaro vafirepo

  15. well spoken.bravo to advocate Matinenga. it is people like reason who thrive on chaos and corruption because they are lazy

  16. the reason why others hang on is that they do not have qualifications, skills and brains to survive outside politics. in politics the only qualification is shouting slogans and a lot of boot licking spiced with corruption. eric in politics struck me as a square peg in a round hole

  17. Only if we had ministers like Matinenga our government business would be viable. Not this bunch of thiefs we are voting for. Wish you the best Advocate

  18. Retiring!!! ???? Tell the truth you liar!!
    Walloped to oblivion by reality!


  19. Don’t give us that bull shit…. You didn’t retire but after losing n being on the losing team it was obvious that there was nothing for you.. Don’t try to gain mileage by telling lies………….. IKOKO KUNYEPERA VANHU NDIKO KWAKAKUROVESA NE ZANU. A MAN OF YOUR CALIBRE MUST KNOW THAT IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO MAKE WILD ACCUSATION…….PRESENT THE EVIDENCE FOR ALL TO SEE N JUDGE NOT TO KEEP ON SAYING YOU WERE CHEATED….NONSENSE

  20. A defeat is always bitter. Lets accept the out come of the election and get prepared for the next one.You spend a lot of time talking of the past which is irreversible. You better start to campaign for the 2013 General Election. Zanu Pf did its ground work it started campaigning in 2008 for the election it has recently won while you were comfortable in the GNU forgetting the people who voted for you.Hapana kubirwa apa.A bad carpenter blames his tools.Pafiwa hashaikwe muroi

  21. Eric Matinenga, the drafting of a new Constitution in Zimbabwe was a complete and utter waste of time and money as you have already seen, and ae going to see from now on. ZanuPF military dictatorship does not give two rats about a Constitution. You MDC guys have used the wrong strategy by treating ZanuPF as a civilian party when it is clearly a military dictatorship. You have said “some security personnel are partisan” which is coward way of avoiding upsetting the military dictatorship.

  22. for the information of some ignorant contributors to this article, this eric guy announced he was not going to seek re election well before the 2013 plebiscite, even tried to groom the late john makumbe

  23. Well done Mukoma Eric. You deserve a resounding applaud!!!!!!! True to that there is surely life after serving the GVT. A lesson which our pears in ZANU are refusing to understand due to greadness. Hona Nkala afa uyu. To those who think they won congratulatios but??? but??? chitongai tione. Ini newe tichamira muque imwe….ini newe tichavata tisina kudya…….ini newe tichapfeka siripazi rakabooka chitsitsinho iwe uchingoti zanu zanu kugutsa munhu akanota nemari kare. Haaaaa mukai mhani!

  24. Thanks Eric, God bless you in your new adventures, of course Zanu PF lost these elections and only hung in there through rigging.

  25. Easy for you. You have an office to go to. Some have never worked in their lives.

  26. If your party leader was that surely he would have deserved to be called a true democrat, But lo he is power hungry and lacks any other skills to survive on outside politics

  27. Very wise words

  28. Proudly Zimbabwean! Zimbabwean to the Core

    You are a man of integrity and you sound wise advocate; i dont support your party and mostly because of open-zip Morgan. He is so strategically blind and greatly suffers from indecision: two deadly weakinesses in a serious politician.dont quit politics rather replace Morgan as the leader then your party wil have direction i think.

  29. Gidi uri dofo.the good advocate notified about his intention to leave the post a long time before ur Nikuv had started the rigging machinery.ask the butcher of Buhera(Mzilikazi) for further information

  30. I wish if they was second electronic vote second re-run vote in Zimbabwe GOD bless you E.M.well done for you service and sacrifice.

  31. I wish you can advise Tsvangirai to step down too.

    1. @mabonakudala why ask mugabe to step down

  32. Those who knows less about governance will shout against a “true” son of the soil. A soldier fighting for social transformation

    you was,is and will always be celebrated for showing that politics is not an end in itself. Good luck in your endeavours advocate

  33. You fought a good fight and your footprints are there to remind us that here worked a good man.

  34. mbavha and murderer go well into political oblivion

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