Mugabe backs Mutambara

President Robert Mugabe has refused to swear-in Welshman Ncube as Deputy Prime Minister insisting he wants Arthur Mutambara to remain in that position, MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga revealed on Thursday.

Speaking after the party’s emergency national council meeting called in the wake of Mutambara’s refusal to be redeployed to the less prestigious Ministry of Regional Integration and International Cooperation, Misiharabwi-Mushonga also announced the former student leader had been expelled from the Ncube-led MDC.

The circus in the MDC took an interesting turn on Wednesday when Mutambara announced he was back at the helm of the party, a position he voluntarily relinquished last month, and that he had fired Ncube from the party.

Announcing Mutambara’s expulsion, Misiharabwi-Mushonga said the robotics professor could keep the DPM post because the party was convinced President Mugabe would not change his position.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said her party had received information to the effect that President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had taken a position to protect Mutambara. The position, she said, had been taken at the GPA principals’ last meeting in December last year.

Ncube met President Mugabe on Tuesday and formally briefed him about the leadership change in the MDC and the standing committee decision to elevate him (Ncube) from Industry and Commerce minister to the deputy premiership.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Ncube had also advised President Mugabe of the party decision to move her (Misihairabwi-Mushonga) to Ncube’s Industry portfolio.

She said the President was not forthcoming and only indicated he would consult Tsvangirai.

They met again on Wednesday and President Mugabe said Tsvangirai was out of the country, but Ncube pressed for a response so that he could inform his national council.

“President Mugabe said ‘you can tell your national council that mina (me) as Robert Mugabe angifuni (I don’t want)’,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

“The resolution by the national council therefore is that we understand the position of President Mugabe. We understand that there is not going to be a swearing-in of Ncube as the Deputy Prime Minister. We know that he (President Mugabe) has done it before and he will do it again.”

She said the President understood that a congress was held and that there was a leadership change but cited the same reasons given by Mutambara, including that the matter was in court, as reasons for his refusal to swear-in Ncube.

“Interestingly, he said go and fight and defeat him. When Ncube pointed out that Mutambara was defeated at congress, he said go and fight him in court,” she said.

“He said he wanted to work with Mutambara and said they have been working as a trio for a long time and have been working well.”

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the party would not fight for the DPM post in court as it was aware that the process would take long, but said Mutambara was no longer representing the interests of the party.

She said the MDC was now convinced Mutambara had sold out to Zanu PF.

She said her party would propose an amendment to the GPA to make it clear that one of the DPM posts should now be filled by Zanu PF so that Mutambara would be formally accommodated in the inclusive government.

“We have effectively donated the DPM post and Mutambara to Zanu PF,” she said.

She said Mutambara was not his own man as it was clear he had been consulting and seeking advice from President Mugabe.

She also accused him of revealing intimate details of the party to the President, including the party strategies.

MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart said the party took the decision not to fight for the DPM post after the realisation that a buy-in from other GPA principals was needed if they were to remove Mutambara.

“Courts are also used as a delay mechanism to delay political goals,” he said.

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