Harare Metropolitan governor David Karimanzira was this week dealt an embarrassing blow when he was reduced to a spectator at a government function in the capital.
The event was the official handover of a refurbished maternity ward at Harare Central Hospital.
Ordinarily, the metropolitan governor features prominently at such events and delivers a speech.
But two principals of the three-legged inclusive government in Zimbabwe have refused to recognise the incumbent governors on the grounds that they were unilaterally appointed by President Robert Mugabe when the global political agreement dictates that such appointments should be done in full consultation with all three parties.
The function at Harare Hospital on Thursday was presided over by MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe, who is the country’s Deputy Prime Minister. Her party is one of the two that have refused to recognise the incumbent governors.
Consequently, when Karimanzira arrived at the country’s biggest referral hospital, he found himself without a seat at the high table and he was not on the programme.
According to a senior government official at the function, Karimanzira had not even been invited.
The governor spent the two-hour proceedings seated in the crowd, like any ordinary person.
At the top table sat Khupe, United Kingdom Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mark Canning, Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity, Murisi Zwizwai, Local Government deputy minister of Information, Sessel Zvidzai, Labour minister, Paurina Mpariwa and other Cabinet ministers.
Speakers at the function observed all protocol and made no mention of the governor, who sat in the crowd, looking dejected.
MDC-T ministers present said they did not know why Karimanzira was present as he was no longer a governor of the metropolitan province and as far as they were concerned, he was just “a stranger who had no place at the high table”.
The officials said he was not even on the guest list and all speakers who observed protocol did not recognise his presence.
Speakers, who included Khupe, Health minister Henry Madzorera, Canning and other officials from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, totally ignored Karimanzira, who appeared uneasy and unwelcome throughout the function.
In her speech, Khupe only acknowledged the ministers present, their deputies, their wives and the nursing staff at the hospital.
Canning did the same and all the others who spoke followed suit.
When NewsDay sought his comment after the function as he walked away, Karimanzira said:
“If you want to talk to me, come to my office and I will tell you what you want, not now.”
Later efforts to get comment from the governor were unsuccessful, as the person who answered calls at his office said he would only take appointments “next week”.