THE MDC leadership wrangle took a new twist yesterday when the party’s national council expelled former president Arthur Mutambara from the party for having allegedly willfully conspired with Zanu PF in trying to resist his redeployment in government as proposed by the party’s standing committee.
The move comes hardly a day after Mutambara on Monday said he did not recognise the leadership elected at the party’s congress last month and subsequently fired Welshman Ncube from the party on Wednesday for allegedly causing confusion.
The party’s new secretary-general and Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, yesterday said the national council decision was informed by the discussion that took place between new Ncube and President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday on the party’s proposed deployment.
“The national council unanimously resolved to summarily revoke Mutambara’s membership using Section 4.11 and 4.10 of the party’s constitution,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said. “President Mugabe on Wednesday told Ncube that he would not swear him in as deputy prime-minister as he enjoyed a good working relationship with Mutambara.”
Section 4.11 says that the national council by a majority of two thirds of its membership can expel a member whose continued membership is detrimental to the party, while Section 4.10 says a member who joins or support any other party than MDC is automatically dismissed.
Mugabe is alleged to have said: “I, as Robert Mugabe, will not swear you, Ncube (in) as deputy prime-minister. I want to work with Arthur and we are a trio with Tsvangirai.”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga added that Mutambara last December before the party’s congress had sought and received an endorsement from the other principals in the inclusive government that he should not be removed from the position of deputy premier.
“Since December last year, Mutambara had a deal with the other principals,” she alleged, “They had a strategy to go to the courts and let the matter freeze there like they have done in the past. Mugabe had notes on all meetings that Mutambara had with senior party members, including details such as which restaurant we had coffee at when we discussed party matters.”
MDC leadership conceded that there was very little political room to move after Mugabe’s Wednesday position and resolved to give up the fight for the deputy premiership.
“Mutambara’s tenure depends on Mugabe. Politically there is little we can do,” party legal secretary David Coltart said. “We have a political problem and the courts will be used as a delaying tactic and the case will not move forward. So it’s a waste of time and resources.”
The party cited Mugabe’s refusal to swear in MDC-T’s Roy Bennett as deputy minister on legal grounds and the outstanding electoral petitions since 2000.
The national council resolved that they would write to the other principals and facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma, about Mugabe’s position and their resolve to amend Section 20 of the GPA to reflect the new political reality in the country.
“We will write to the facilitator and other principals that Mugabe has continued to violate the GPA by refusing to swear in our nominees just like he did on Bennett,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said. “To that end we will propose the agreement be amended to say the other deputy prime-minister comes from Zanu PF since Mugabe wants Mutambara and will not respect MDC appointees.”