The circus in the MDC continued on Wednesday with Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who suddenly claimed to be the bona fide president of the party, firing Welshman Ncube.
Mutambara was deposed from the helm of the MDC by Ncube at the party’s national congress last month, but a faction loyal to the former student leader is challenging the legality of the congress in the High Court.
They claim Ncube violated the party’s constitution to claim the presidency.
On Monday, Mutambara told journalists he did not recognise Ncube as the leader of the MDC and declared he would not relinquish his post as the country’s deputy premier, prompting Ncube to call for an emergency national council meeting scheduled for today, where Mutambara is expected to be fired.
However, Mutambara on Wednesday moved to pre-empt Ncube’s national executive council’s decision by announcing he had instead fired Ncube from the MDC.
But he said he was only prepared to hand over power through a legitimate congress, adding the High Court challenge had resulted in a power vacuum, which he was filling.
“I was prepared to pass the baton to a new leader but that had to be done through a legitimate congress. Unfortunately that has not happened. Colleagues are in the courts challenging the legality of the congress. There is now a vacuum,” he said.
“I don’t recognise Ncube as president of the party and you can’t have a party without a leader. I am the legitimate leader of the MDC until a leadership is put in place or the court rules in favour of Ncube.
“The old national council before the congress remains legitimate and the national executive remains legitimate until we organise a legitimate congress or the High Court rules in favour of Ncube.”
He also said Thursday’s meeting by the Ncube faction would be of no consequence.
“That has created a problem for us and I have taken a drastic decision to salvage the image of the party. I have taken a decision to immediately expel Ncube from the party.
“This decision to fire him will be ratified by our national council.
“We haven’t had time to convene a national council meeting between now and tomorrow but in any organisation, there is somebody with that authority and that is me.”
Mutambara said he would communicate the decision to fire Ncube through the party structures.
He said he did not fear any legal complications as the decision was extraordinary and meant to deal with an “extraordinary case”.
Mutambara said the MDC was showing signs of disintegrating under Ncube’s stewardship as there was now chaos in the party.
He said the defection by some MDC members to Zanu PF was a result of frustration caused by Ncube’s leadership style.
“There is now chaos in the party because of the new leadership such that the supporters are joining Zanu PF. Members of the party are being victimised and others have been chucked out of Copac. I have stepped in to stop this rot. We can’t have our party disintegrating because we are failing to find leadership,” Mutambara said.
The Ncube faction however hit back accusing Mutambara of being a Zanu PF functionary who was taking instructions from the President’s Office.
Discent Bajila, MDC youth assembly secretary-general, said: “It is interesting that there is someone who relinquishes power willingly at a congress and hopes to reclaim it through a press conference.
“We have a forest to deal with in Zanu PF and MDC-T so we can’t lose sleep over one tree and eight branches.”
The Ncube faction deputy spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said Mutambara was taking instructions from the President’s Office and accused him of being Zanu PF.