FILABUSI – Deputy Prime Minister and MDC-M president Arthur Mutambara yesterday said the inclusive government is dysfunctional as one party still dominated the other partners by making unilateral decisions without consultation.
He made the outbursts at the burial of his vice-president Gibson Sibanda at Silalatshani communal lands in Filabusi yesterday. He lashed out at the Zanu PF leadership for having defied requests to confer national hero status on Sibanda.
Mutambara, who spit venom during the better part of his speech, blasted President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF, saying they were the major causes of the problems affecting the country. He also blasted Vice-President John Nkomo, who also attended the burial, for failing to use his Zanu PF position to push for Sibanda’s hero status.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is also MDC-T leader, was also among thousands of Zimbabweans who bade farewell to the former trade unionist.
Mutambara said it was high time the other two partners in the coalition government confronted the problem they were facing head-on.
Mutambara argued that should the two MDC parties fail to deal decisively with Zanu PF, they should opt out of the “dysfunctional arrangement”.
“Two-thirds of this inclusive government made a decision that Gibson Sibanda is a national hero. There is no respect for
the two political parties in this government. This inclusive government has a problem.
“This government and its president have a problem. This government is dysfunctional. So as we bury Gibson Sibanda, we say to this government, ‘shape up or ship out’,” said Mutambara.
Mutambara narrated Sibanda’s contribution to Zimbabwe’s freedom and the role he played in establishing the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and MDC and his involvement in the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration.
“This man created most of us. In 1999, with his colleagues, they formed the MDC to protect the rights of the people of Zimbabwe. They formed the party to fight for human rights, fight violence, and fight against the staging of fraudulent elections in this country. “He (Sibanda) was a man whose heroic works before and after independence, in the workers’ movement, and even today in the Organ for National Healing are there for all to see,” said Mutambara.
“Now that brings us to the obvious question why, Mutambara, you are the president of this party that Sibanda belonged to. You are saying all these heroic things about this man. You and your party made a decision that Sibanda is a national hero.
“Why then are we in Insiza? You, Tsvangirai, are the Prime Minister of this country. You and your party made a decision that Sibanda is a national hero. You have told us that he was your mentor. You have said that he is a national hero. Why are we in Filabusi today? Why are we not at the Heroes’ Acre?” Mutambara asked. He had no kind words for VP Nkomo: “You, John Nkomo, you are the Vice-President of this country. You worked with Sibanda during your days in the labour movement and at PF Zapu. Why are we here in Insiza today?” Mutambara asked to loud applause from the mourners gathered to pay their last respects.
Tsvangirai, who also addressed mourners, said there was no doubt Sibanda deserved to be accorded national hero status. “He was a sober man. People have said he should have been a hero. Heroes are not bestowed. Heroism is earned. It does not matter what label we put on it . . . I can safely stand here and say that the majority of Zimbabweans firmly believe that Gibson Sibanda was a national hero,” said Tsvangirai.
Nkomo told the gathering that he had worked with the late Sibanda.
“The journey was long and it was difficult. It needed men and women who were not selfish and Gibson Sibanda was one of those,” said Nkomo.
The send-off indeed was a befitting one for a hero as thousands of people gathered to pay their last respects to the late Sibanda.
GNU not working — Mutambara