MDC-Mutambara blasts MDC-T

Speaking at the party’s victory celebrations held at Hingwe primary school in Bulilima West , Plumtree, several speakers who included the MDC treasurer-general Mr. Fletcher Dulini -Ncube and the party’s national chairman Joubert Mudzimi dismissed speculations over the possibility of the two MDC formations merging .

The party’s vice president Mr Gibson Sibanda scoffed at reports of threats by the MDC-T party to withdraw from the inclusive government, instead calling for Zimbabweans to rally behind the success of the administration.

The party’s secretary general who is the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Professor Welshman Ncube hailed the progress that has been made by the inclusive government in restoring political and economic stability.

The MDC was celebrating the election victory of Bulilima West member of the House of Assembly who is the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Moses Mzila.

Meanwhile sources said, the increasingly hysterical MDC-Mutambara is reported to be lobbying their Zanu PF colleagues for the three parties to the Global Political Agreement to re-consider extending the period in which they will not contest each other in any arising by-elections.

According to the GPA that led to the creation of an inclusive Government by Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations in September 2008, the parties agreed that for a period of 12 months starting September 15, they would not contest against each other in any by-elections.

This means the party holding the seat prior to it falling vacant shall contest that particular by-election against independent candidates and representatives from parties not signatory to the GPA.

That 12-month period expired last week and the parties are now exploring the possibility of extending that moratorium.

Interestingly though, despite this provision of the GPA, no by-elections have been held since last year with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission saying it is broke and cannot afford to conduct any polls at present.

MDC negotiator to the talks and party secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube said there was an informal agreement to review the timeframe set by the GPA on the matter of by-elections.

"We have had an informal discussion and agreed that we have a formal meeting as the negotiators to discuss the issue before we make recommendations to the principals," he said.

Prof Ncube said a date had not yet been set for the proposed meeting.

"We will meet in the coming weeks. We informally agreed that contesting against each other will cause a great deal of animosity when the efforts to unite the people of Zimbabwe are still underway," Prof Ncube said.

He said there was need to ensure conditions for peaceful elections were guaranteed before the parties went to the polls.

Zanu-PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa said they were yet to discuss the issue as a party.

"Nothing has been discussed yet and we are still to consider that position."

Efforts to contact MDC-T negotiators Mr Tendai Biti and Mr Elton Mangoma were fruitless at the time of writing. However, party spokesperson Mr Nelson Chamisa said there were still challenges that needed to be addressed but added that it was within the capacity of the principals — Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara — to chart a way forward.

"It is, however, a challenge that while the parties are bound by the GPA, the matter is also constitutional.

"There is also need to consider that the provision is a political arrangement that has to be considered by the three parties," he said.

According to Article XXI of the GPA, the parties cited the divisive and often confrontational nature of elections. The parties also wanted to allow the pact to give the electorate some breathing space and a healing period without contesting each other in elections.

Fifteen parliamentary seats have fallen vacant since the signing of the GPA. Some of these were after the re-appointment of the legislators to other parliamentary or State duties, while others have arisen following the death or the conviction for criminal offences by the country’s courts of the incumbents.

Three of the vacant seats are a result of the expulsion of the MDC MPs from the House of Assembly after the party expelled them from their ranks as a disciplinary measure