Ncube fires Mutambara from MDC

welshman_ncubeThe chaos in the smaller MDC faction, headed by contested leader Welshman Ncube (pictured), continued to deepen on Thursday when Ncube fired his predecessor, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Ncubes MDC held a National Council meeting in Harare on Thursday, where they expelled Mutambara from the party, accusing him of ignoring a directive to step down as the countrys Deputy Premier. Mutambara made way for Ncube as the new MDC President last month, where a party congress voted overwhelmingly in Ncubes favour as the new MDC-N leader.

The partys spokesman, Nhlanhla Dube, confirmed that Mutambara was no longer a recognised member of the party, saying the Council agreed to dismiss him as a card-carrying MDC member. He explained that the Council heard a report-back from party President Ncube about meetings he had with Robert Mugabe, regarding the partys restructuring.

Mugabe said that, while he was still going to consult with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in his personal capacity he did not want Professor Ncube to replace Mutambara, Dube explained.

He added that it was clear to the Council that ZANU PF is supporting Mutambara, and said the party had resolved to propose that this support be made official.

The Council decided to propose to our partners in the government that there be a Deputy Prime Minister from MDC-T and one from ZANU PF, who will be Mutambara, Dube said. We are donating him to ZANU PF and we will only recognise his status as Deputy Prime Minister if he accepts he is a ZANU PF member.

Observers have already commented that the situation is part of a ZANU PF strategy to dissolve the unity government and call for fresh elections. Dube agreed that ZANU PF wants to use our party as a reason to call early elections.

They clearly want us to continue this argument by helping Mutambara, Dube said, adding: We dont want to disturb the (unity government). We dont want early elections.

The decision to expel Mutambara comes a day after he said he had fired Ncube and reclaimed the leadership position of the party. Mutambara on Wednesday told a press conference in Harare that he would remain the leader of the party, until the validity of the congress that elected Ncube was clarified in court.

This means that until the High Court of Zimbabwe makes a ruling on the matter, I remain the legitimate President of the MDC. The Party leadership structures, such as the National Council, National Executive, Standing Committee and Management Committee that were in place before the meeting of 8 and 9 January 2011 remain the legitimate ones. This will change if the Courts rule in favour of Prof Welshman Ncube and his team, or a legitimate National Congress is held, whichever comes first, Mutambara said.

He also said he was immediately dismissing Ncube from the party, saying he was guilty of victimising party followers since taking over the leadership. Mutambara alluded to recent incidents of Ncube trying to fire party officials from the COPAC team responsible for reforming the constitution, and Ncubes directive to take party cars from members.

With immediate effect Prof Welshman Ncube is summarily dismissed from the MDC Party. As a non-member he has no authority to organise, participate, or speak on behalf of the Party. We will organise a National Council meeting of the Party in accordance with our Constitution, at which meeting this decision will be ratified, he said.

Ncubes spokesman, Dube, rubbished the excuse that Mutambara was waiting for the High Court to rule on the matter, saying: Mutambara is not party to that legal challenge, made by six councilors. He cant start claiming to be part of this challenge now.

Mutambara has already insisted he will not be stepping down as Deputy Prime Minister, writing in a statement on Monday that there was a difference between his post as party leader and his post as Deputy Prime Minister. Mutambara said this distinction was discussed, understood and agreed. He also said he felt betrayed, after promises made to him were broken by Ncube and his camp.

The idea was to elect a new leadership which will concentrate on building the Party and prepare for the next elections, and not change leadership in order to bicker over current offices of state, he said.

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