Zvayi confirmed his exit to Media ZimLive on Tuesday.
“I’m going home,” he said. “I’ll probably try something different, perhaps return to academia as well, but we’ll see.”
Zvayi and his former Sunday Mail counterpart Mabasa Sasa were the most significant casualties of a change of information minister after Monica Mutsvangwa’s appointment in September 2018.
It is now customary for newly-appointed information ministers to change the guard at state media publications. For Mutsvangwa, this was particularly urgent, ZimLive understands, after she clashed with Zvayi before her appointment, angry after The Herald covered proceedings at her son Neville’s trial on rape charges.
Zvayi and Sasa were supposedly promoted to editor at large and head of content syndication in December last year respectively, but Sasa was forced out in May after Zimpapers commenced disciplinary hearings over a crashed company vehicle he allegedly drove without a licence.
Media commentators also expected Zvayi to be finally ousted. He began negotiating his exit over a month ago, before reaching agreement on the terms on Tuesday.
Even before his departure, Zvayi had seriously taken up farming, according to colleagues.
Zvayi joined The Herald in November 2004, but left in July 2008 to take up a position as a lecturer in Gaborone, Botswana.
Zvayi was ordered deported by Ian Khama, who was then the president of Botswana – it was claimed at the behest of American diplomats then locked in diplomatic hostilities with the Zimbabwe government. Zvayi was seen as a government operative over his time at The Herald, and Botswana – a close US ally – acted in solidarity with Washington.
Upon his return, Zvayi became night editor and then deputy editor of The Herald. He replaced Innocent Gore as editor in a shake-up ordered by the new information minister Jonathan Moyo in 2013.
The Herald has been unable to find a steady replacement for Zvayi. Joram Nyathi, who took over in December last year, was sacked after just over a month accused of “poor editorial judgment” for not placing a picture of Emmerson Mnangagwa on the front page after he returned from a foreign trip.
Nyathi was replaced by his deputy, Tichaona Zindoga, on an acting basis. Zindoga was fired last month after he allegedly travelled to South Africa for a meeting with the exiled former Cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere – a bitter foe of the regime in Harare.
Zimpapers editorial executive and former Sunday Mail editor, William Chikoto, is currently the acting Herald editor.-zimlive