Mutambara steps down as MDC-M leader

HARARE – MDC leader Professor Arthur Mutambara will not seek re-election at the party congress set for January next year amid reports that 11 out of 12 provinces have already indicated they will endorse secretary-general Prof Welshman Ncube as president.

Prof Mutambara, who cited divisions and disharmony among the party members over positions at the congress, has withdrawn his candidature for nominations being done in the provinces in preparation for the congress.

"I think it is important they be given the opportunity to lead the party. We feel that five years have been long enough a period to provide leadership to this party and the time has come to hand over the baton to another individual.

"I hope that my withdrawal from these elections will encourage other members to unite and concentrate on building the party," Prof Mutambara said.

On Thursday, MDC Harare Province ditched Prof Mutambara and nominated Prof Ncube as its candidate for the post of president and he will be deputised by information and publicity secretary Mr Edwin Mushoriwa.

Mr Goodrich Chimbaira is national chairman, Mrs Pricilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga secretary-general and is deputised by Joseph Mzila Ndlovu.

Mr Paul Themba Nyathi was nominated treasurer general and is deputised by Ms Theresa Marimazhira Muchovo.

Other provincial members to receive executive posts forwarded by Harare province are Ms Roslyn Ndabambi, Mr Kurauone Chihwayi and filmmaker Ms Tsitsi Dangarebgwa, according to a statement signed by Harare provincial information and publicity secretary Mr Chihwayi.

Sources in the MDC say all the provinces have been given up to January 2 to submit their nominations to the secretary general Prof Ncube ahead of January 8 and 9 congress in Harare.

"Harare has already set the tone and all the provinces are expected to follow suit. In the meantime Mashonaland Central province is the only province that is resisting but we are sure by the end they will accept the people’s choice," said the official.

In an interview last night, Prof Mutambara said he withdrew his candidature to give chance to his other colleagues who have aspirations to lead the party.

However, Prof Mutambara, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister in the inclusive Government, said he would continue as the president of the party until a new leader was elected.

After the elections, Prof Mutambara said, he would become an ordinary member of the party.

"We are trying to build a new culture in Africa where leaders come and go while institutions remain. We are also emphasising the notion that there is a difference between leadership and position of authority," he said.

Prof Mutambara, however, said he would continue providing leadership in the country even without a party position.

Prof Mutambara is the only leader of the MDC formations who has confused many by adopting a pro-Mugabe stance and has been calling for the lifting of travel sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies.