The Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) has cut Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to size by recognising his rival, MDC president Welshman Ncube, as a principal.
According to the invitations to the Sadc Summit held in South Africa at the weekend, the regional bloc indicated they recognised Mutambara only as the country’s Deputy Premier and not as a principal.
Yesterday, Mutambara made a surprise appearance at the burial of former Zanu PF secretary-general Edgar Tekere at the national shrine at a time Sadc leaders and principals of Zimbabwe’s political parties were discussing the country’s crisis in Johannesburg.
Invitation letters sent to Mutambara and Ncube by the Sadc Secretariat, dated June 3 2011 indicated Ncube was invited as MDC president while Mutambara was invited only in his official capacity as one of Zimbabwe’s Deputy Prime Ministers.
The letters, in the possession of NewsDay, were signed by Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salomao.
Contacted for comment as to why he was not attending the Sadc summit, Mutambara went ballistic accusing NewsDay of “writing stupid stories”.
“Who told you to call me? . . . Tell your editor to stop publishing rubbish. Your paper is writing rubbish,” he ranted, and added: “Don’t you know that today (Sunday) was a national day and there was the burial of Edgar Tekere? I came back last night for the burial.”
Immediately after, Mutambara switched off his phone after he was reminded NewsDay needed his side of the story with regards to the latest turn of events.
His spokesman Maxwell Zimuto said his boss had travelled to South Africa and could have come for the burial because “he was very close to Tekere”.
Last week, Zimuto told NewsDay that Mutambara had been invited as a principal but the invitation letter showed he was invited only as DPM.
Mutambara was deposed from the helm of the MDC-N by his former secretary-general at the party’s congress in January but he refused to relinquish his position as a principal and the Deputy Premiership accusing Ncube of rising to power illegally.
The matter has spilled into the courts, but Ncube’s faction was granted an interim order barring Mutambara from purporting to be the leader of the party until the matter was finalised.