HARARE – The sight of former Cabinet minister and Zimbabwe’s first Speaker of the National Assembly Didymus Mutasa cutting a despondent figure, away from the niceties that had dominated for long his political career, is a reminder of how life can be.
Mutasa has hit the hard times as he battles huge debts while trying to fend for his family in one of the most dramatic events for a man who lived in the lap of luxury during his career in government as one of President Robert Mugabe’s closest allies.
The veteran politician at one time was in charge of more than one ministry, apart from holding influential posts in both government and Zanu PF.
It is quite staggering that Mutasa finds himself in a spot of bother and having no one to turn to as he sinks into difficulties.
For a man who had been in government for more than three decades, the expectation would have been that he had invested in life after politics.
Sadly, his situation in which he is battling to save his property from being auctioned, failing to send his children to school and having to contend with a monster electricity bill, among other myriad challenges, Mutasa’s troubles serve as a reminder to many how it is difficult for these politicians to survive outside Zanu PF and government.
History is littered with many politicians, especially from Zanu PF, who have found the going very tough once outside government. The late Enos Chikowore, who held many ministerial posts before he lost Mugabe’s confidence, died a desperate and poor man after he ran into financial problems.
At the time of his death, Chikowore was hoping that Mugabe would re-appoint him to Cabinet and coincidentally, he died after the 93-year-old had overlooked him.
Another political heavyweight, the late Nathan Shamuyarira, died when he had hit hard times — having to rely on a prominent Harare property businessman — for survival and upkeep.
His levels of poverty were laid bare when his house had to be given a fresh coat of paint ahead of Mugabe’s visit to pay condolences to his family.
There are many others, both living and dead, who couldn’t handle the realities of living outside the comfort zones provided by being in government. Mutasa, by his own admission, didn’t steal a penny during his time in government and has been relying on what he earned.
His is another case of how the mighty have fallen. Daily News