Young Cabinet minister opening doors for women, girls Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Dr Tatenda Mavetera

Ruth Butaumocho

African Agenda

Dr Tatenda Mavetera describes herself as  having been “ a young lady who merely wanted to see her peers thriving in different spaces”.

Cde Mavetera, poised and focused beyond her age, is being modest.

At 37, she is the country’s  Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services. 

She is also  serving her second term as a Member of Parliament for Chikomba West, where she won resoundingly in the 2018 harmonised elections.

Such a huge responsibility does not come cheap. It requires astuteness, hard-work, a high level of ingenuity, being  level headed, and a good appreciation of the dictates of the ministry.

A collection of such attributes may be difficult to find among her peers, but Dr Mavetera has embraced these in a short period.

“ It is humbling to be heading the ICT ministry at a time when several progressives developments are taking place to shape and assist our people’s use of technology. As we speak, we are working hard to come up with a disruptive technology policy, which would form the basis of a litany of measures that the Government is putting in place to ensure that the country is abreast with changes in the information communication technologies.

“ The Government is seized with bridging the digital divide between rural and urban dwellers and is working on a number of initiatives with the goal of bringing technology and knowledge to everyone regardless of location or socioeconomic status,” she revealed in an interview early this week.

A former actress with a local soap, Studio 263 during her teen years, Dr Mavetera  is probably the youngest Cabinet Minister in the current Government. 

She is a role model for humility. Her down to earth personality are rare and refreshing in a political leader. Dr Mavetera attends to the needs of her Constituency with genuine interests and goes out of her way to be with the people when the need arises.

She has easily fitted in both her roles with ease.

With no previous experience besides a passion to serve, Minister Mavetera served her term as a Parliamentarian representing Seke- Chikomba Constituency in 2018. She pursued her dream to serve the nation with vigour, determination and hard-work, despite a coterie of challenges which she faced as she traversed the bumpy rides in the national political landscape.

Together with the other female politicians,Minister Mavetera navigated the rugged terrain to dismantle patriarchal barriers on politics that view women as less competent than men.

Her determination paid off, earning her a seating in Parliament after trouncing her opponents right from the primary elections within the ruling Zanu Pparty up to the constituency level,  where she won resoundingly.

“People in Chikomba West voted for me because they believe in me. I will not disappoint them.

“ I want to thank His Excellency, President Mnangagwa for affording youths opportunities to assume leadership positions in various sectors. We do not take our appointments for granted, but we appreciate the responsibility bestows on us, which requires us to work hard and serve the people,” she said.

Five months after her ministerial appointment, Minister Mavetera has traversed the length and breadth of Zimbabwe and beyond, attending various conferences, meeting various stakeholders in ICT.

She has represented Zimbabwe at various regional and international platforms, articulating the country’s achievements and aspirations in ICT.

Despite her busy schedule, Minister Mavetera still finds time to attend to her Constituency obligations, a development that has endeared her to the people.

Recently Hon Mavetera, opened a pilot initiative of tele-health centre in Chikomba West. 

The programme is expected to cascade to all the country’s 10 provinces, where the Ministry of Health and Child Care will roll out 100 centres, as the Government makes concerted effort to ensure that marginalized communities can access health services within walking distances and in the comfort of their homes.

“ I want to take this opportunity to thank Her Excellency, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, our Health and Child Care ambassador who made sure that the programme would come to fruition.

“ Dr Mnangagwa has scored remarkable achievements as the country’s health ambassador. Without her dedication, commitment and passion to see marginalized communities accessing health, this programme which would be  cascaded to other provinces would not have been possible,” said Minister Mavetera.

During the tele-health launch, Minister Mavetera seamlessly interacted with beneficiaries of the tell health centre, taking time to explain how the facility would be accessed.

However her humility when executing her duties in her constituency has been met with criticism from some sections of the society, who feel that her behaviour lacks decorum normally associated with ministers.

She quickly dismissed the  criticism as vile rancour and malice, bent on derailing her commitment to serve her Constituency.

“Yes , I am a minister but I am also a Member of Parliament for Chikomba West, where I am expected to execute my duties as a legislator. I still represent the Constituency and the people that voted me into Parliament, and when I am there I take the hat of an MP.

“ I wear different hats for different occasions and it is very unfortunate that some people have sadly failed to differentiate these roles. We have heard cases of Cabinet Ministers who abandoned their constituencies after their ministerial appointments, I am not going to do that, hence my decision to engage and mingle as an MP, when the need arise. I came from the people, and I will continue to uphold that.”

She however said she has learnt a lot from such criticism and will continue to give heart and eye to the comments that she receives in the court of public opinion.

Her conviction in juggling the two roles is also in fulfilment of servant leadership, which President Mnangagwa has instilled in them.

“His Excellency President Mnangagwa has taught us to prioritise the growth and the well being of people and communities which we serve as leaders. We see him daily engaging with communities, listening to their challenges and delivering the services the nation requires.

“Being a servant leader means one has to engage, increase trust with the people that you serve and build better team relationships, something which is crucial in both my roles as an  MP and a Minister,” she asserted.

For someone who carved her political career from nothing, rising through political echelons of the ruling Zanu PF Dr Mavetera has represented her peers well, contrary to the assertions that young ministers are easily swayed with fame and may fail to handle responsibilities assigned to them.

 Dr Mavetera believes the future is bright.

Apart from her role in politics, she is dedicated businesswoman and a farmer. 

She has also been instrumental in the empowerment of young women and the youth, a passion which gave birth to the Young Women for Economic Development, where she is the founding leader. The Young Women for ED brand has since attracted a number of other affiliates to follow suit.

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