PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday excluded MDC leader Welshman Ncube from a meeting of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) leaders to discuss the new constitution despite making commitments to include the minister in the crucial process.
Report by Everson Mushava
Mugabe – who is defying a Southern African Development Community (Sadc) resolution to include Ncube in the meetings – is said to have convinced Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to meet him without the MDC leader.
Ncube was informed about yesterday’s meeting by both the PM and President’s offices, but was not told of the venue until he traced them to State House.
When he arrived, he was kept outside while Mugabe, Mutambara and Tsvangirai discussed the fate of the constitution-making process and the MDC leader was only briefed about what the three had agreed on.
MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said they felt betrayed by Tsvangirai who had earlier promised to boycott the meeting if Ncube was excluded.
The minister said they were shocked by what they saw on arrival at State House.
“To our surprise, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara were already in the meeting while Eric Matinenga (Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs minister) waited to apprise them on the task he was given last week,” she said.
“Mutambara came out and invited Matinenga inside to make his presentation while leaving Prof Ncube out.
“He (Ncube) was later called in after Matinenga’s presentation and after a decision on the way forward was made.”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Tsvangirai now appeared to endorse Mugabe’s position to exclude Ncube.
“Now we have a bigger problem with Tsvangirai than we have with Mugabe and Mutambara,” she said.
“Tsvangirai is saying one thing in public and behaving differently in private.Earlier in the day, we heard Mugabe had told Tsvangirai he did not want Ncube to be part of the meeting and that Tsvangirai had vowed to boycott in that event.”
“But surprisingly, he was part of the meeting without Ncube.”
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson William Bango said he was not aware Ncube had been excluded from the meeting. He insisted the meeting did not discuss the contents of the new constitution, but the process.
“They can make those allegations, but the meeting looked at the process, not the contents,” Bango said.
“They will meet again next week to discuss the contents.
“Today (yesterday) Minister Matinenga simply presented them with a report on how the process can be lifted and the principals are studying it now.”
At the weekend, Bango said last week’s meeting did not make progress on the constitution-making process because Ncube was not present.Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara had already made decisions when Ncube was called in yesterday.
“They decided to set up a small committee to look into the submissions on the divergent views submitted by Minister Matinenga,” she said.
“This means the process had been opened to renegotiation to allow the Zanu PF proposals.I wonder how Tsvangirai can agree to such a stupid position when he had repeatedly said he would not allow renegotiation of the process.”
“He was not supposed to agree on that. If a deadlock is to be declared, let the facilitation team break it than making such concessions.”
Matinenga’s mobile phone was not reachable while Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was not picking his phone when contacted for comment on the developments.