Mutambara demoted to make way for Ncube

Two weeks after saying Arthur Mutambara would continue to be Deputy Prime Minister, Professor Welshman Ncube on Sunday announced that he was now the new deputy premier, having taken over from the man he toppled as party leader.
Immediately after taking over from Mutambara as party leader two weeks ago Ncube claimed; Professor Mutambara will continue to be the Deputy Prime Minister.

We have agreed that we are not going to redeploy him, as we want to continue tapping from his skills. All that however changed on Sunday after a meeting of the National Standing Committee of the party.

Mutambara was redeployed to become the Minister of Regional Integration and International Co-operation, a position held by Ncubes close ally Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who now takes over from Ncube as Minister of Industry and Commerce. Mutambara has so far maintained what he hopes is a dignified silence and avoided fueling the speculation around his true feelings on the matter.

The feeling of the committee was that the office of the DPM should be occupied by the partys most senior official. This should not be viewed as a demotion. Its only that we are new to democracy. It happens in a democracy. If at one time you lead, the next you follow, Ncube is quoted as saying over the weekend.

The big irony of the democracy that Ncube talks about is that all three leaders who rotated positions over the weekend – Ncube, Mushonga and Mutambara – are all unelected politicians who lost elections in their parliamentary constituencies.

In the March 2008 poll Ncube, who got 2,475 votes, lost to current Deputy Prime Minister (MDC-T) Thokozani Khupe who got 4,123 votes in Makokoba. Mushonga withdrew from the Glen View contest but her replacement, Kudzanai Mashumba lost. Mutambara was the biggest casualty in the Zengeza East constituency, getting 1,322 votes to Alexio Masundure (MDC-T) who got 7,570 votes.

Meanwhile Misihairabwi-Mushonga is now the partys lead negotiator in the GPA, alongside Qhubani Moyo, the partys national organising secretary. Education Minister Senator David Coltart and the co-Minister in the Organ on National Healing, Moses Mzila Ndlovu the only two elected legislators, retained their portfolios. Its now expected the MDC-N will wait for ZANU PF leader Robert Mugabe to swear in the officials into their reshuffled positions.

Meanwhile thirteen disgruntled party rebels last week filed a High Court application to have the congress that elected Ncube as party leader, invalidated. Led by former National Chairman Jobert Mudzumwe, the group is accusing Ncube of violating the constitution by failing to properly inform the different provinces and districts on when the congress was supposed to be held.

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