Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Arthur Mutambara on Thursday received a slap in the face from his own party which publicly distanced itself from his remarks supporting President Robert Mugabe’s unilateral appointment of key government officials.
Mutambara’s leadership credentials have of late been questioned by several senior officials in his MDC-M party.
There have been serious conflicts within MDC-M indicating the apparent emergence of factions ahead of the party’s elective congress early next year.
The DPM on Wednesday told MPs that President Mugabe had the right to appoint provincial governors and ambassadors as the Head of the State.
His remarks in support of Mugabe angered parliamentarians from his party and those from the MDC-T.
The remarks have compromised his position ahead of the congress where he is likely to be challenged for the party presidency by his secretary general Welshman Ncube.
Apparently embarrassed by Mutambara’s remarks, MDC-M spokesman Edwin Mushoriwa on Thursday reiterated that the official position taken by the party was that it did not recognise the governors.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Mushoriwa said President Mugabe had violated the GPA by unilaterally appointing judges and ambassadors, although it was against the action taken by MDC-T to write letters to United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki moon and
several governments, asking them not to recognise the envoys.
“In regard to the appointment of governors, our position is that the principals should have been guided by the ratio 5:4:1 agreed by the negotiators.
The reappointment by President Mugabe of the governors in our view is contrary to the spirit of the GPA and accordingly we do not recognise such appointments,” said Mushoriwa.
He said article 20.1.7(a) of the GPA makes it mandatory for the President to consult his peers prior to making any senior appointments.
“In the event that there is ambiguity, it is natural for parties in a coalition arrangement to consult each other before making decisions which have a negative bearing on the country,” he said.
Mutambara refused to comment on the matter last night claiming he had been misquoted.
His comments were however captured in Wednesday’s Hansard, a verbatim report of parliamentary debates.
“We also want to state that we do not subscribe to the actions taken by the MDC- T of writing letters to the various international bodies and governments.
It is our view that dialogue is the way forward and in the event that there was no prospect of success, then the best thing was to reach out for the facilitator and the guarantors of the GPA,” he said.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wrote to President Mugabe advising him that he and members of his party do not recognise the governors as well as envoys and judges he unilaterally appointed.
Tsvangirai also wrote to Ban, president of the European Union Commission José Manuel Barroso and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt advising them not to recognise envoys posted to their countries following the unilateral appointments.
He also wrote to South African President Jacob Zuma and Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi over the standoff as well as Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku advising him that his party did not recognise the judges who were unilaterally appointed by Mugabe.