Mutambara threatens to fire Bhebhe

HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Professor Arthur Mutambara says Nkayi West legislator, Abednico Bhebhe risks expulsion from the party if he accepts a ministerial post on a Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC ticket.

Tsvangirai on Tuesday took the political world by surprise when he
included Bhebhe among his list of nominees to take up cabinet posts
this Friday.

Announcing party nominees, Tsvangirai deployed Bhebhe to the Ministry of Water Resources and Management.

The MDC leader defended his action saying Bhebhe had been included to advance the spirit of inclusiveness.

Minister Bhebhe has been appointed in the inclusive government, said Tsvangirai.

We are trying to promote inclusiveness. I do not know about
(perceived) crossing the floor but all I know is that he is part of the
inclusive government.

But Edwin Mushoriwa, spokesperson for the Mutambara led MDC told The
Zimbabwe Times Tuesday Bhebhe risked having his seat declared vacant
and a by-election called to replace him.

We were taken aback when we heard that Honourable Bhebhe had been
nominated among Tsvangirai's list of nominees for cabinet, said

We do not know the motive behind all this. It defies the spirit of the
whole Global Political Agreement signed among the parties.

There is no way Tsvangirai can appoint a minister from our own
membership when there are several of his own members who were aspiring
to become ministers. It is like (President Robert) Mugabe appointing
one of Tsvangirai's MPs within the Zanu PF list of nominees.

We are actually waiting to see if he (Bhebhe) will go on to accept the
post. But if he accepts, he should do the most honourable thing and
resign from our member at which point we will declare the seat vacant
and call for a by election.

Mushoriwa said Tsvangirai should have consulted his party if he so
wished to deploy a member from his party to become minister on his own
party's ticket.

Under the Global Political Agreement signed between Zanu PF and the two
MDC factions, Zanu PF, which won 99 seats in last March's general
elections, would take up 15 ministerial portfolios while the
Tsvangirai-led MDC was to appoint 13 ministers from among its initial
list of 100 MPs.

The Mutambara led MDC, which has 10 MPs in parliament, was allocated three ministerial posts.

Mushoriwa questioned why Tsvangirai's MDC accepted 13 ministerial portfolios if it wished to nominate a member from his party.

Tsvangirai should simply have refused to accept 13 ministries for his
party to allow our party to have an allocation of four ministries,
said Mushoriwa.

As far as we are concerned, Honourable Bhebhe is still our member. He would have crossed the floor if he accepts the ministry.

Reached for comment, Bhebhe flatly refused to discuss the subject
saying he could only issue comment on the matter after the swearing in
on Friday.

I am not taking any interviews until Friday, he said.

This is not yet an official announcement. Please phone me on Friday.

Bhebhe is believed to have voted for Lovemore Moyo, of the Tsvangirai-led MDC to the post of Speaker of Parliament.

This was in total defiance of an order by the leadership of the
Mutambara faction that had nominated former legislator Paul Themba
Nyathi to the influential post. Nyathi had been endorsed by Zanu PF.

The MDC split into two factions in October 2005 after sharp differences
emerged on whether to participate in the Senatorial elections which had
been introduced by government.

Until the March 29, 2008 elections, the two factions were involved in a
fierce battle for legitimacy until it turned out Tsvangirai's MDC had
been vindicated when it won 100 parliamentary seats countrywide while
the smaller MDC won 10 seats only in Matebeleland.

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