Lazarus Nzarayebani

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Lazarus Nzarayebani was born near Mutare, spent most of his life there, and served as an MP from Mutare for twenty years. He was schooled and ordained as a Minister, and joined the armed struggle with Zanla. He survived the 1977 Chimoio battle. He was a noted critic of life presidency.

Personal Details

Nzarayebani was born in 1949 in Munyarari Village in the Zimunya District of Mutare.
On 2 April 2001, aged 52, Nzarayebani died at the Metropolitan Clinic in Harare. [1] Nzarayebani was survived by his wife, Joyleen, and four children.

School / Education

Munyarari Primary School.
Highfield High School, Harare.
1971 - United Theological College. Ordained.
1980 - enrolled at the University of Zimbabwe.
Taught at Tafara High School.

Service / Career

Began serving at Hilltop United Methodist Church in Sakubva.
Then Rupinda Circuit in Honde Valley.

He then joined the liberation struggle. He received military training and fought alongside Zanla combatants. He survived the historic shooting at Chimoio base in Mozambique. After Lancaster House, he campaigned for Zanu PF in the 1980 election.
After the election he joined the army, but was demobilised soon afterwards.

In the 1985 Parliamentary election, Mutare East returned:

  • Lazarus Gumisai Chauyachauya Nzarayebani with 33 868 votes, or 94.6 percent of the Constituency.

In the 1990 Parliamentary Election (see A History of Zimbabwean Elections) Mutare South returned to Parliament:

Turnout - 15 636 voters or 39.89 %

Nzarayebani was appointed MP for Mutare South after the then MP for the area, Simba Makoni was assigned to the Southern African Development Community as executive secretary. He became a member of the Zanu PF central committee of Zanu PF. He retained his seat in parliament until the 2000 elections when he lost to Sydney Mukwecheni of the Movement for Democratic Change.


In the early 1980s Nzarayebani rose to fame, alongside Sidney Malunga of Bulawayo and Dzikamayi Mavhaire of Masvingo, for criticising both Zanu PF and President Mugabe. He was among the first group of parliamentarians to be vocal in Parliament. He openly tried to tell President Mugabe that the country was taking a wrong political and economic direction, Said Moses Mvenge, a close friend of Nzarayebani and former Zanu PF parliamentary chief whip. Zimbabwe has lost a man committed to the good of the country. [1]

Lazarus Nzarayebani, MP, human rights activists, lawyers and other politicians are calling for a constitutional amendment to limit the presidential stay to two terms (12 years total). The country’s constitution, which was amended in 1987 creating the post of Executive President, does not limit a president’s term of office. “If somebody is elected president he should serve at most two six-year terms and that’s it. No more…,” says Nzarayebani, who has moved a motion in parliament for such an amendment. University of Zimbabwe Law Professor Welshman Ncube agrees, but says that even 12 years is “too much.” [2]

In 1992, Mutare South Legislator Lazarus Nzarayebani said Zimbabwe’s 24-member cabinet was too big. In 2011, Zimbabwe’s cabinet was 46 ministers including the President, his deputies and the Prime Minister. [3]

Lazarus Nzarayebani is mentioned in four books:

  • From Protest to Parties: Party-Building and Democratization in Africa. By Adrienne LeBas. 26 May 2000. [4]
  • A Crisis of Governance: Zimbabwe. By Jacob Wilson Chikuhwa. 2004. [5]
  • At the deep end. By Morgan Tsvangirai. 2011. [6]
  • Becoming Zimbabwe. A History from the Pre-colonial Period to 2008: A History . Edited by Brian Raftopoulos, A. S. Mlambo. 2008. [7]

Further Reading

  1. 1.0 1.1 Nzarayebani dies, Zimbabwe Situation, Published: 2 April 2001, Retrieved: 18 December2019
  2. [Link_Here Presidents Should Not Rule For Life], IPS News, Published: 13 February 1997, Retrieved: 18 December 2019
  3. Nzarayebani’s ideal cabinet, The Insider, Published: 7 June 2011, Retrieved: 18 December 2019
  4. From Protest to Parties: Party-Building and Democratization in Africa, From Protest to Parties: Party-Building and Democratization in Africa , Published: May 2000, Retrieved: 18 December 2019
  5. A Crisis of Governance: Zimbabwe, A Crisis of Governance: Zimbabwe , Published: 2004, Retrieved: 18 December 2019
  6. At the deep end, At the deep end , Published: 2011, Retrieved: 18 December 2019
  7. Becoming Zimbabwe. A History from the Pre-colonial Period to 2008, Becoming Zimbabwe. A History from the Pre-colonial Period to 2008, Published: 2008, Retrieved: 18 December 2019

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