Walter Mzembi Biography: Early Life | Education | Political Career | Legal Troubles | Exile | Saviour Kasukuwere
Walter Mzembi (born 16 March 1964) is a Zimbabwean politician who previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry under former President Robert Mugabe. He was also a Member of the House of Assembly for Masvingo South constituency from 2004 to 2017.
- Saviour Kasukuwere Biography: Early Life | CIO Agent | Political Career | Exile | Presidential Ambitions
Early Life and Education
Mzembi was born in Masvingo Province to a Ndebele mother and a Karanga Shona father. He did his primary and secondary education in Masvingo. In 1987, he obtained a Technologist Diploma in Mechanical Engineering in Lusaka, Zambia.
Mzembi joined ZANU-PF in the early 1980s and showed an interest in youth and social affairs. In 2004, he was elected to the House of Assembly for Masvingo South constituency, where he held the position of Portfolio Committee Chairperson for Agriculture, Lands and Resettlement. He was also appointed Head of the Zimbabwe Delegation to the ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Europe.
In February 2009, he became Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry in the national unity government formed by ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). He helped organize the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in August 2013. He was also the candidate of the African Union for the position of the Secretary-General of the UNWTO for the 2018-21 term but lost to Zurab Pololikashvili of Georgia.
In October 2017, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs by Mugabe following a cabinet reshuffle that was seen as a move to sideline his rivals within ZANU-PF. However, his tenure was short-lived as he was expelled from the party and the government in November 2017, following a military intervention that ousted Mugabe and installed Emmerson Mnangagwa as the new president. Mzembi was accused of being part of the G40 faction that supported Grace Mugabe’s bid to succeed her husband.
Walter Mzembi Legal Troubles and Exile
In January 2018, Mzembi was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on charges of abuse of office and corruption related to his alleged misuse of funds meant for a tourism conference in 2013. He was granted bail, and his trial was postponed several times due to his ill health. He claimed to be suffering from colon cancer and sought treatment in South Africa.
In October 2020, it was revealed that Mzembi had fled to South Africa before his trial could be completed and that Zimbabwe’s national prosecutors had met with their South African counterparts to seek his extradition. Mzembi denied the allegations against him and said he was a victim of political persecution.
Walter Mzembi And The Saviour Kasukuwere Presidential Campaign
Walter Mzembi is the chairman of Saviour Kasukuwere’s campaign team for the upcoming 23 August 2023 elections in Zimbabwe. Mzembi announced that Kasukuwere, who is running as an independent presidential candidate, will soon return to Zimbabwe from South Africa to begin his campaign. Mzembi also revealed the names of the technical committee that will provide administrative support to Kasukuwere’s campaign. The committee consists of:
- Chief of Staff: Mr. Munyaradzi Bwanya
- Chief Election Agent & Presidential Spokesperson: Ms. Jacqueline Sande
- Chief Legal Adviser: Mr. Munyaradzi Midzi
- Head of Foreign Relations: Mr. Lloyd Msipa
- Head of Communications & Stakeholder Management: Mr. Ali Naka
Walter Mzembi Personal Life
Walter Mzembi is married to Barbra Hernandes Mzembi, who comes from San Jose, Cuba. The couple have six children together: Gabriella, Tanya and four others. Mzembi is also a devout Christian who attends the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He is fluent in English, Shona and Ndebele.