MDC-M on the brink as Coltart backs rebell MPs

HARARE – The embattled MDC-M was last night fighting for survival as its beleaguered Secretay-General and President held a hasty press conference in Harare, whingeing and threatening the Speaker Lovemore Moyo for not assist them expel rebel MPs.

Disarray within the formation of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara increased on Thursday as the party’s leadership issued an ultimatum to the House speaker to oust three lawmakers the grouping has expelled, amid reports from reliable sources that David Coltart is now backing the rebel MPs.

Last night, our source said the party’s Secretary for Legal Affairs, Minister of Education in the coalition government David Coltart is now working with the majority of party members and he is alleged to be giving legal advice on the party constitution with a view to call for a Congress which would show Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube the door.

Participation in the coalition government as a cabinet Minister has helped Coltart see at close range the other dark side of Welshaman Ncube’s CIO link and he has decided, enough is enough.

Welshman Ncube, told a news conference in Harare which was attended by his poodle deputy prime minister that if Speaker Lovemore Moyo fails to declare the House seats vacant the party will refer the matter to Robert Mugabe’s judicial authorities.

But expelled Mutambara MDC dissident Abednico Bhebhe fired back, dismissing the National Council meeting as a kangaroo court and vowing to convene a special congress to rally members to his side.

An expelled Member of Parliament representing the smaller Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party yesterday described his party’s leadership as employees of Zanu-PF.

The Nkayi South MP, Abednico Bhebhe,said the Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and his secretary general Welshman Ncube were a Zanu PF faction pushing for Robert Mugabe’s agenda.

Bhebhe was responding to news of his expulsion which was confirmed by the party’s national council meeting which met in Harare on Thursday.

“I don’t attend Zanu-PF meetings because Mutambara and Ncube are Zanu-PF,” said Bhebhe. “The meeting was full of CIOs who were blocking us from getting into the meeting. The decisions were made by hired national council members not the bona-fide people.

“Unfortunately the people have made a resolution that Mutambara and Ncube are the ones who should go because they are not representing anyone; they are actually employees of Zanu-PF in the GPA government.”

Bhebhe said a special congress will be convened soon to map the way forward for the party, marking what could probably be a split within the Mutambara-led MDC, which split from the mainstream MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2005.

“We are going back to the structures of the party who now have to mandate the way forward at a special congress where the two will come face to face with the people and face the music,” said Bhebhe.

The chaos in the MDC reached new heights last week when another high-ranking member of the party, Job Sikhala, declared himself the new leader of the party saying “in war times we don’t follow constitutions“.

Sikhala is suspended pending disciplinary action. He faces charges of publicly attacking Mutambara. Sikhala lashed out at Mutambara, accusing him of propping up President Robert Mugabe’s leadership.

But the former St Mary’s MP refused to attend several disciplinary hearings saying he would prefer to quit the party than subject himself to the humiliation of a disciplinary hearing by a “guest to his party” and “a political pretender”, both obvious references to Mutambara.

Mutambara lived in the United States and South Africa until he was invited to lead the faction early in 2006, after the MDC split in October 2005.

But Ncube, the MDC faction’s secretary general, says the party will soon process Sikhala’s expulsion.

“The disciplinary committee of the party is processing the misconduct charges against Job Sikhala expeditiously so as to make a determination as to whether he is guilty of any wrongdoing in terms of our party so that finality can be brought to his case,” said Ncube.

The MDC formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, meanwhile, said its national executive council will meet Friday to discuss problems in the national unity government ahead of a visit later this month by South African President Jacob Zuma – who is also chairman of the Southern African Development Community until SADC’s September summit.

Mr. Zuma has been asked by the Tsvangirai MDC to mediate seemingly intractable issues that continue to trouble the government including in particular the leadership of the Reserve  Bank of Zimbabwe and the Office of the Attorney General.

The party is also disturbed by the rising number of MDC lawmakers who have been prosecuted and in some cases convicted of serious offenses, putting their seats and the MDC