Olivia Muchena

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Olivia Muchena
Olivia Muchena, Zanu Pf
BornOlivia Nyembezi Muchena
(1969-09-18) September 18, 1969 (age 53)
EducationUniversity of Iowa, United States of America
Home townMutoko, Mashonaland East
Political partyZimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front
Spouse(s)Tobias Muchena

Olivia Nyembezi Muchena is a Zimbabwean politician of Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu PF) party from Mutoko in Mashonaland East Province. She was fired from cabinet and party structures in December 2014 on allegations of harbouring elements of factionalism by supporting the deposed vice president Joice Mujuru who was accused of plotting to unseat president Robert Mugabe from power.

Personal Details

Born: 18 August 1964'.
Mariage: To Tobias Muchena. They have three children. [1]

School / Education

Muchena holds the following degrees:

  • Diploma in Adult Education from the University of Edinburgh
  • Bachelor of Arts from the University College Of Rhodesia
  • Doctor of Philosophy from University of Iowa, United States of America.[2]


Muchena participated in the liberation struggle when she was still a student at the University of Rhodesia (now University of Zimbabwe). She became a Zanu PF member and chairperson of branches in Edinburgh and Rochester-Syracuse-Ithaca, New York in 1977. [3]

She became popular in 1997 when she was appointed Deputy Minister of Lands and Agriculture, a post she held until 2001. Muchena was then appointed Minister of State in the Vice-President (Joseph Msika's) Office until his death in August 2009. She rose through the ranks to become Minister of Science and Technology Development in 2003. During the Government of National Unity, she served as Woman's Affairs and Gender Development Minister as well as Mutoko South member of parliament between 2009 and 2013. She was also a member of the Constitutional Select Committee (COPAC) that was charged with the drafting of a new constitution in 2009.

In the 2000 Elections, (see A History of Zimbabwean Elections) Mutoko South returned to Parliament:

Muchena is also a pastor with the United Methodist Church.

Leadership Positions

She has headed several organisations:

  • ZANU PF Women's League Political Commissar
  • Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Education at the University of Zimbabwe
  • Senior Agriculture, Economics and Extension Lecturer at University of Zimbabwe (1983-1995)
  • Research Fellow in the Department of Adult Education (1981-1982)
  • Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Social Science, Women and Development Unit (1978-1978)
  • Research Officer at the School of Social Work (1977-1977)
  • General Secretary at Young Women's Christian Association (1972-1972)
  • Director at Sakubva Community Centre (1971-1971)


Violence Allegations

She allegedly suspended her church activities to concentrate on a brutal and violent campaign for Robert Mugabe during the 2008 presidential run off. She allegedly organized terror squads and instructed them to deal with opposition supporters that resulted in some deaths. She allegedly targeted the Movement for Democratic Change supporters around her Mutoko district.[4]

Bulawayo Speech Walkout

During the "Meet the People" rally held by the then incoming Women's league Secretary Grace Mugabe at Amazulu Sports Club in Bulawayo, she covered up a massive walk out by the people from the stadium presumably as a sign of demonstration against the first lady. The people are said to have marched out of the stadium whilst the first lady was in the middle of her speech. This was generally viewed as resistance to the first lady. [5] Muchena attracted attention when she attempted to justify the walk out by the angry electorate. She argued that the people went on to receive food donations which were being distributed simultaneously with the first lady's speech. It was clear that Muchena had made efforts to explain resistance by the people of Bulawayo most of whom are generally believed to be sympathetic to the opposition the Movement for Democratic Change.

Farm Mechanisation Scheme

In July 2020, Olivia Muchena was listed, in the BSR of 18 July 2020, as a beneficiary in the 2007 RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme, as a result of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme.

The data is analysed by recipients origin:.

  • Mashonaland provinces had the most beneficiaries, both in terms of numbers and value.

Mashonaland East got US$47,5 million,
Mashonaland West US$44,7 million
Mashonaland Central had US$34,2 million.

  • Two Matebeleland provinces had a combined total of US$13,9 million.
  • Masvingo US$26,4 million,
  • Manicaland US$18 million
  • Midlands US$14 million.

Olivia Muchena is listed under the thematic group “Politicians”. According to the list, got a loan of US$376,470.00. [6]

Demotion from Government

Muchena was part of the so-called Mujuru loyalists who were fired from government by Robert Mugabe in 2014. The Mujuru loyalists were accused of taking part in a plot led by the then vice president Joice Mujuru to unconstitutionally remove president Mugabe from power. Muchena was believed to have worked closely with the outspoken former ZANU PF chairman for Mashonaland east province Ray Kaukonde. Muchena was fired together with other senior party members such as Nicholas Goche, Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo, Jabulani Sibanda and Francis Nhema. She was replaced by Oppah Muchinguri who was generally viewed as loyal to Mugabe. [7]

Expulsion from ZANU-PF

Muchena was expelled from the ZANU-PF party on 21 May 2015. She faced the axe together with six other senior members from different provinces. This followed her initial sacking as the minister of higher and tertiary education. She was also dismissed from the party structures before the subsequent expulsion. The dismissal was believed to be an ongoing agenda by the ZANU-PF party to eliminate those believed to be loyal to the former vice president Joice Mujuru.


  • The Next Generation of African Leaders: The Power of Preparation (2022)

Further Reading


  1. FAMILY LIFE Famous Birthdays, Retrieved: July 9, 2014
  2. Educational history, Whoswho, Retrieved: July 9, 2014
  3. Hon. Dr Olivia Muchena Copac, Retrieved: July 9, 2014
  4. Olivia Muchena : Mutoko South Constituency
  5. , Dr Muchena Clarifies Walk Out,The Herald, published:16 Oct 2014,retrieved:6 Jan 2015"
  6. https://www.bigsr.co.uk/single-post/2020/07/18/BSR-EXCLUSIVE-Beneficiaries-of-the-RBZ-Farm-Mechanisation-Scheme BSR EXCLUSIVE: Beneficiaries of the RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme], Big Saturday Read, Published: 18 July 2020 Retrieved: 18 July 2020
  7. H. Zharare, President Unveils New Ministers,The Herald, published:12 Dec 2012,retrieved:18 Dec 2014"