Mutambara to lead a faction against Ncube, Coltart’s political future hanging in the balance

IN a bizarre defiance, the outgoing MDC-M President Professor Arthur Mutambara has insisted he may contest as Presidential candidate in 2011 general elections amid reports of bitter infighting and skulduggery that have cost leading member of the MDC-W, Education Minister David Coltart his position from the party.

For the MDC-W leadership 2011 Congress, Bulawayo Province which IS mainly made up of Ncube’s Kitchen Cabinet, nominated: President – Welshman Ncube, Deputy President – Frank Chamunorwa, Chairman – Goodrich Chimbaira, Secretary General – Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga, Deputy Secretary General- Moses Mzila Ndlovu, Treasurer General – Paul Themba Nyathi, Deputy Treasurer General – Miriam Mushayi and there was no mention of David Coltart.

Sources said Welshman Ncube intervened to get Senator David Coltart appointed into what he called the National Executive Council along with Nqgabutho Dube after a huge outcry from party members.

In the coalition government, Education Minister David Coltart is credited for his hardworking efforts in reviving the dilapidated country’s education which has suffered at the hands of Robert Mugabe’s regime.

On his Facebook profile, Welshman Ncube was attacked by his party members on why David Coltart was being sidelined, and for more than twelve hours he could not give a clear answer, only to come back 24 hours later to announce that he had foisted him into a National Executive Council.

One livid party member Bekithemba Mpofu said, "So one of the most hardworking Ministers gets overlooked? Wondering what criteria is being used? Coltart is being overlooked by his own province.

Leen Coleen Mokoena said, "Yes why have they left Coltart out? He is by far the most hard working Minister Zimbabwe has ever had. He is sincere and has Zimbabwe at his heart regardless of what they continue saying of him being a former Rhodesian."

Sources said the party’s decision to sideline or shove Coltart away from frontline is influenced by his recent public spat with Robert Mugabe’s War Veterans.

Meanwhile in Manicaland, where Mutambara comes from, violence broke out after the province rejected the imposition of Welshman Ncube as leader. Sources said there are now parallel structures in the province. The province is likely to launch a Mutambara led faction in the party.

On his Facebook profile, Ncube said, "Our MDC provincial nominations in Manicaland were disrupted by police yesterday."

The Zimbabwe Mail reporter at the scene said police were called in to disperse rowdy mobs belonging to Ncube and Mutambara factions who fought running battles against all day, with both factions claiming be the legitimate provincial executive.

Nominations for Manicaland will now be carried out in Bulawayo, sources said.

In a dramatic twist Mutambara is now saying he may turn out to be the next head of state even though he is stepping down as leader of the party.

Addressing a Diaspora conference in the resort town of Victoria Falls, Mutambara left delegates bemused when he insisted he was not going anywhere.

In a clear show of bitterness over the handling of his removal from leadership which was first reported by The Zimbabwe Mail, the Robotics Professor said, "I took a plunge and see where that took me; I became the president of MDC. After that I became the Deputy Prime Minister," he said.

"Muchashama ndava Head of State because I am not going anywhere,’’ Mutambara said in defiance.

The Deputy Prime Minister however, said he was not going back on his pledge to quit the leadership of the MDC.

But, sources said Mutambara had no choice but to throw in the towel after he failed to gunner any support from the party’s provinces.

"I am stepping down as the leader of my party MDC. I am not running- it’s done.

"We are going for a congress in January and I have said that I am not contesting for any party post but I will still be a member of the party,’’ he said.

Mutambara had to step aside when he became a pariah within his own party after widespread accusations that he was taking the party into Robert Mugabe’s pockets.

Analysts said Mutambara is likely to lose more if he openly defies his party and so he has to abide by Welshman Ncube’s wishes and act in a normal way right through to the life span of the coalition government and so that he can drive off in his free Mercedes Benz and all the packages that goes with his position.

We could not verify other reports saying Mutambara is planning to join Zanu PF, but those close to him are urging him to stay in MDC-W and lead his faction to challenge Ncube’s leadership.

It has also since emerged that a majority of the party’s provincial structures have been wiped into backing Secretary General, Professor Welshman Ncube, to take over as leader of the party.

Ncube was not eligible to stand again for his current post, having served the mandatory two terms allowed under the party’s constitution, a situation which is not explained as to why Mutambara is not accorded protection by the party’s constitution.

In true Robert Mugabe’s fashion, Ncube has whipped into line Matabeleland North, Bulawayo, Matabeleland South, Harare, Midlands North and South and Mashonaland East provinces to replace Mutambara.

Mutambara was invited to lead MDC in February 2006 following the split of MDC in 2005.

He did not contest the presidential elections in 2008 preferring, instead, to throw his weight behind Mavambo Kusile leader Dr Simba Makoni.