Mutambara to remain deputy PM as long as Mugabe wants

HARARE – Arthur Mutambara is in no danger of losing his cushy Deputy Prime Ministerial post – and all the trappings that go along with it – even if he loses his party president role.\r\n

Constitutional law expert, Lovemore Madhuku, says Mutambara can complete his term in office as long as President Robert Mugabe is happy with his performance, even if he loses his party’s backing in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Madhuku said recent suggestions by the smaller faction of the MDC leadership that Mutambara could be recalled from government were “nonsensical and have no legal force”.

“There are two things here; the law and political morality,” said Madhuku.  “At law, a person in government can either resign or be dismissed. However, in political morality, DPM Mutambara, by virtue of being the leader of his political party, can be asked to resign voluntarily, but he can refuse to go.

“There is no legal requirement.”

Madhuku said the fact that Mutambara had not offered himself for re-election at his party’s congress in January did not mean he was out of government.

“There is no such language as recalling in this country. It’s the ANC (African National Congress) language and it’s nonsensical.  Mutambara was sworn in by the President in terms of Amendment number 19 Act and that is the Constitution,” Madhuku told our correspondent.

“It is only Mugabe who can either force him to resign or dismiss him, if he is not happy with his performance.  The GPA is not the Constitution and is a separate arrangement.  So, Mutambara is likely to complete his term in the inclusive government,”

The University of Zimbabwe Public Law lecturer made comparisons with Mugabe’s refusal to swear in Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister, despite being seconded by his party to the inclusive government in line with the GPA.

“The President has the formal power to refuse.  It is the same with Mutambara. His party can say it wants him replaced but it is of no legal effect, the GPA is not the Constitution,” said Madhuku.

Mutambara, who has had to endure months of speculation regarding his future at the helm of  the smaller faction of the MDC, has opted not to contest in the forthcoming elections – leaving secretary general Welshman Ncube in pole position to take over the reins.

The former UZ student leader has said he will remain a card-carrying and ordinary member of the party he joined as leader in 2005 after its spectacular split from the original Morgan led-Tsvangirai MDC.

Mutambara, the robotics professor once with the US space agency, NASA, was head-hunted by Ncube to lead the party after he successfully persuaded his allies, mainly from Matabeleland, to form a break-away party.

Ncube was angered by Tsvangirai’s decision to veto a national council vote to participate in the senatorial elections.

The national council had voted in favour of participation despite Tsvangirai’s refusal and Ncube felt his decision to reverse the vote was unconstitutional and undemocratic. – Daily News