Mutambara calls for calmness in the coalition

Deputy prime minister Professor Arthur Mutambara says the three parties to the Global Political Agreement, GPA, should not allow the inclusive government to collapse as it is working for the good of the ordinary Zimbabweans..

Addressing journalists in the capital late Monday afternoon, Prof. Mutambara said the ordinary people in Zimbabwe have high hopes on the political arrangement which has seen stabilisation in the national economy and general recovery in the last eight months.

Prof. Mutambara was reacting to the recent development where the MDC-T has decided to boycott government meetings, over its deputy minister of agriculture designate Roy Bennet who is facing charges of contravening sections of the Public Order and Security Act for possessing weapons meant to commit acts of insurgency, banditry, terrorism and sabotage.

Prof. Mutambara explained that although there are some issues that have not yet been implemented, such as the making of a new constitution and media reform laws, the leaders should not forget to put the people first, as the people were the main reason why the three leaders formed the inclusive government.

He said the Bennet case should not be allowed to bring down the inclusive government saying the attorney-general should have exercised his discretion to prevent the re-incarceration of the former Chimanimani legislator.

He said as a separate party, the MDC will work towards the promotion of dialogue between the MDC-T and ZANU PF to promote the building of bridges in the nation.

DPM Mutambara who intimated that he had discussions with prime minister Mr. Morgan Tsvangirayi over the issue at the weekend said he was meeting Robert Mugabe later Monday.

He recommended that the three principals should meet and discuss the issues and then approach SADC if need be.

SADC facilitated the 15 September GPA last year, which led to the formation of the inclusive government in February this year.

Meanwhile Roy Bennett’s trial set to begin at the High Court on Monday this week has been postponed after his lawyers argued that they had been given little time to prepare their case.

Bennett, a senior white Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) official, has been charged with illegal possession of arms for purposes of committing terrorism and banditry.

He denies the charge that carries a possible death penalty upon conviction.

Bennett was indicted to stand trial on Wednesday and immediately detained in prison. He was released late on Friday after a High Court judge admitted him to bail.

"It was agreed that the trial be postponed as we have not given them (the defence) enough time. We had given them two days instead of the minimum 10 days required by law," Chris Mutangadura told reporters on Saturday.

The new trial date has been set as November 9.

Bennett, a former white commercial farmer, is Tsvangirai’s nominee for the post of deputy agriculture minister but President Mugabe has refused to swear him in until he is acquitted.

Tsvangirai said on Friday the MDC would boycott the country’s power-sharing government until sticking points had been resolved and a political deal was reached, sparking the biggest crisis since the coalition was formed nine months ago.

He said the MDC would disengage from Mugabe’s "dishonest and unreliable" Zanu PF party in the country’s unity cabinet set up in February.