Long-Serving Opposition Figure Innocent Gonese Announces Retirement from Active Politics
In a significant development, veteran opposition activist and former Mutare Central legislator, Innocent Gonese, has decided to retire from active politics after a remarkable career spanning 24 years. Gonese made the announcement privately to his relatives and confirmed the decision in an interview with NewsDay.
Gonese expressed his intention to shift his focus towards his law practice, embracing his role as a private citizen and dedicating more time to his legal profession and human rights activism. Reflecting on the decision, he stated, “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.”
The seasoned politician also highlighted the opportunity to spend quality time with his family, indulge in his passion for long-distance running, and occasionally enjoy a round of golf. Additionally, he expressed a desire to pursue academic endeavours, considering the possibility of a Ph.D. and take up Arthur Mutambara’s challenge and write a book. However, Gonese emphasized the importance of prioritizing survival amidst challenging and difficult times.
Earlier this year, Gonese, alongside Trevor Saruwaka, the former legislator for Mutasa Central, opted out of contesting in the general elections despite being nominated as representatives of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
Gonese, a senior partner at the renowned law firm Gonese and Ndlovu, served as the chief whip for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the 8th and 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe. With a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Zimbabwe in 1984, he furthered his education by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Human Rights, Peace, and Development from Africa University in 2016.
Joining the MDC in 1999, Gonese achieved electoral success by becoming a Member of Parliament for Mutare Central in 2000, and subsequently securing re-election in 2008, 2013, and 2018. He held the position of MDC provincial secretary for legal and parliamentary affairs in Manicaland, later assuming the same role in the party’s national executive from 2006 to 2011.
Gonese’s contributions extended beyond legislative duties. He served as a member of the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee on Constitution making from 2009 to 2013, playing an integral role in drafting Zimbabwe’s new Constitution, which became law in May 2013 following a successful national referendum in March of the same year. Additionally, Gonese served on the Parliamentary Legal Committee, responsible for assessing the 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.
In retiring from active politics, Innocent Gonese leaves behind a legacy of dedicated service and a commitment to upholding human rights and democratic values.