Friday, February 11, 2011

(NEWZIMBAWBE) Mutambara now represents Zanu PF: MDC

Mutambara now represents Zanu PF: MDC
by Staff Reporter
10/02/2011 00:00:00

ARTHUR Mutambara’s membership of the MDC was revoked at an emergency meeting of the party’s national council on Thursday, but the party resolved to let him stay on as Deputy Prime Minister in the unity government, but not on its ticket.

The MDC said it took the position after President Robert Mugabe told the party’s newly-elected leader Welshman Ncube “in no uncertain terms” on Wednesday that he would not swear him in as Deputy Prime Minister.

Now the MDC says it considers Mutambara a Zanu PF member, and would be seeking an amendment to the 2008 power sharing pact, known as the Global Political Agreement, to reflect that.

MDC secretary general Priscilla Misihairabwi, speaking after the party’s national council voted by a two thirds majority to expel Mutambara, said they would be writing to South African President Jacob Zuma – the regionally-appointed mediator in Zimbabwe – to seek the amendment.

Misihairabwi said Ncube met Mugabe a second time this week on Wednesday and the President made it clear he wanted Mutambara to stay.

“President Mugabe said ‘you can tell your national council that mina (me) as Robert Mugabe angifuni (I don’t want)’,” she said.

“Interestingly, he said go and fight and defeat him. When Ncube pointed out that Mutambara was defeated at congress, he said go and fight him in court,” she said.

She said Mutambara was not his own man as it was clear he had been consulting and seeking advice from Mugabe.

“We are now saying given Mugabe’s stance, they [Zanu PF] can have that position that was allocated to us, so that Mutambara becomes their Deputy Prime Minister. We have effectively donated the DPM post and Mutambara to Zanu PF,” she said.

MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart said the party took the decision not to fight for the DPM post after the realisation that a buy-in from other GPA principals was needed if they were to remove Mutambara.

“Courts are also used as a delay mechanism to delay political goals,” he said.

Misihairabwi said they would not be seeking to occupy the deputy premiership and would now focus on rebuilding their party and preparing for elections.

"We want to give Arthur the position that he so desperately wants and hopefully we will have less public fights than we are having because we know its driven by him wanting to be Deputy Prime Minister. He said it to me personally."

The GPA, signed in September 2008, allocated Zanu PF the presidency and two vice presidents; the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC the premiership and a deputy premiership and the Mutambara-led MDC a deputy premiership.

The parties also allocated ministerial portfolios to reflect the March 2008 general election vote share, with Zanu PF getting 15, Tsvangirai's MDC 13 and the Mutambara MDC three.

But with all the MDC's three ministers -- Ncube, Misihairabwi and David Coltart -- at Thursday's national council meeting, the party says Mutambara will not speak for it in government.

Only on Wednesday, Mutambara had tried to pre-empt his expulsion by purporting to fire Ncube. But it was immediately pointed out that he has no such authority under the party's constitution.

Mutambara, who led the party since 2006, resisted attempts to move him over and make him Minister for Regional Integration, with Ncube replacing him as Deputy Prime Minister.

The robotics professor claimed that as a signatory to the GPA, his position was guaranteed and he should be allowed to stay on for the life of the unity government.

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