HomeLocal NewsMDC accuses Mugabe of tribalism

MDC accuses Mugabe of tribalism


The MDC led by Welshman Ncube Sunday accused President Robert Mugabe of tribalism after the veteran leader intimated that he would not swear-in Ncube unless Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara voluntarily resigned from the post.

Ncube took over the MDC presidency at the party national congress early this month, after a bruising battle which resulted in Mutambara pulling out of the race, and a faction led by former chairman Joubert Mudzumwe announcing they would not recognise Ncube as party leader.

Following a meeting of the MDC national standing committee on Sunday last week, Ncube announced the redeployment of Mutambara from the deputy premiership to the less influential portfolio of Minister of Regional Integration and International Co-operation.

Ncube, who is the Minister of Industry and Commerce, was seconded to take the DPM post while Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga takes over his ministry.

Speaking at a luncheon hosted for him by Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, where he is attending the African Union Summit, President Mugabe said although the MDC had managed to remove Mutambara from the party politically, it would be difficult to remove him from the deputy premiership because of legal issues.

“This creates legal problems Politically they were able to remove him but legally we swore him in as a Member of Parliament and I swore him in as Deputy Prime Minister,” he said.

“I don’t know — it’s up to him if he wants to resign and if he refuses to resign we are stuck. But the GPA will move ahead.”

But in a statement yesterday, the MDC said President Mugabe had no power to appoint anyone outside his party into Cabinet or stop the party from reshuffling its leadership and cited the Cabinet reshuffle by the MDC-T as an example.

They said President Mugabe could only formally appoint persons chosen by the party.

In a thinly veiled attack, the party also suggested that the President was being driven by tribalism.

“Clearly the President has no power or right to appoint any person into the Cabinet without the approval of that party through their leadership. Equally clear is the right of each party to reshuffle, reassign or recall any of its representatives, the President being required to only formally make the appointments as requested by the parties,” said the party’s spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube.

“In fact this is what exactly happened when the MDC-T reshuffled its Cabinet team. It was never suggested, and it could not be, that the MDC-T required the consent or resignation of those that it had reassigned or removed from Cabinet positions.

“It is curious that it is now suggested that there is one rule for the MDC-T and Zanu PF and another for MDC.
“We are left with no doubt that this is not a legal question but a ‘political’ one where some parties ‘because of the places of origin of their leadership’ are more equal than others.”

Dube said the public would not be fooled and would understand what was happening.

In June, MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai reshuffled his Cabinet, dropping Elias Mudzuri from being Minister of Energy and Power Development and Fidelis Mhashu from the Housing and Social Amenities portfolio.

Former Home Affairs co-Minister Giles Mutsekwa was moved to the Housing and Social Amenities while Evelyn Masaiti, formerly Deputy of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Affairs, as well as Thamsanqa Mahlangu, formerly Deputy Minister of Youth Development, were axed.

Sources close to Ncube said he and those around him thought President Mugabe was not only playing a tribal card, but was afraid of a principled leader at the top.

“The feeling is that it’s a tribal war, where someone is saying a Ndebele person is not good enough to be among the Shonas at the top. (President) Mugabe is also not comfortable with Ncube because he is honest and consistent unlike Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai who are very inconsistent,” said a source.

“This whole thing also confirms the view that many people in the party had: that Mutambara was more Zanu PF than Zanu PF itself, hence the sympathy that he is getting from the President.”

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