VETERAN opposition activist and former Mutare Central long-serving legislator Innocent Gonese has retired from active politics.
Gonese announced his retirement from politics in a private message to relatives over the weekend. He also confirmed the retirement to NewsDay in an interview yesterday.
Gonese said he had decided to focus on his law practice after 24 years in politics.
“I am reverting to being a private citizen and full time legal practitioner and human rights activist. In a normal country, I would be going into real retirement, but I still have to put food on the table and what I trained to do is to practice law and so be it,” he said in the message on Saturday.
“It also gives me more time to spend with the family and do my long distance running and occasionally hit the small white ball. In the future, time permitting, I will try to do a PhD and take up Arthur Mutambara’s challenge and write a book. But first things first, try to survive under challenging and difficult times.”
In April this year, Gonese and Mutasa Central legislator Trevor Saruwaka stepped down from contesting in the general elections despite being nominated as representatives of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
Gonese, a senior partner at Gonese and Ndlovu law firm, was the Movement for Democratic chief whip in the 8th and 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe.
After obtaining a Bachelor of Laws Degree at the University of Zimbabwe in 1984, he later acquired a Master’s Degree in Human Rights, Peace and Development at Africa University in 2016.
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Gonese joined Zimbabwe’s main opposition party MDC in 1999 and was elected Member of Parliament for Mutare Central in 2000 and re-elected in 2008, 2013 and 2018.
He was the MDC provincial secretary for legal and parliamentary affairs for Manicaland before assuming the same position in the party’s national executive between 2006 and 2011.
From 2009 to 2013, Gonese was a member of the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee on Constitution making, a multi-party committee which drafted a new Constitution of Zimbabwe which was passed into law in May 2013 after the national referendum of March 2013.
He was a member of the specialist committee, the Parliamentary Legal Committee, which examines constitutionality of laws presented to Parliament by the Executive.
He was also a member of the Parliamentary Liaison Co-ordination Committee and the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Portfolio Committee.