Mutambara takes last stand against "hugely divisive" Ncube

HARARE – Outgoing President of the Movement for Democratic Change, Professor Arthur Mutambara and his Secretary-General, "split specialist" Welshman Ncube are said to be locked in bitter power struggles, amid reports that Mutambara stormed the top table and challenged Ncube, according to latest reports coming from the party's Congress in Harare.

Led by outgoing national chairman, Joubert Mudzumwe, the members accused Ncube of unilateralism and regularly flouting the party’s constitution.

“(Arthur) Mutambara is still our leader and will remain our leader till we hold a legitimate and constitutional congress,” Mudzumwe told a press conference on the eve of the party’s congress.

He said Ncube should call off the congress set for Saturday and Sunday in Harare, failure to which the party a split would be inevitable.

Mudzumwe also announced the appointment of Nomalanga Khumalo as the deputy president, succeeding Gibson Sibanda who died last August.

He said they had kept silent while Ncube flouted the constitution as they wanted to maintain stability within the party, but matters boiled over ahead of the congress, as the secretary general had handpicked delegates to attend.

“Power in the party has been usurped by one person, he is literally running the party on his own having taken over from the chairman and the organising department,” deputy organising secretary, Morgan Changamire said.

He added that the party had virtually been imprisoned by power hungry individuals who were sidelining the structures.

Mudzumwe said his grouping would hold a “legitimate and properly constituted congress” after a complete restructuring of the party.

Ncube’s rise to the presidency had appeared unstoppable with 11 out of the party’s 12 provinces picking him ahead of Mutambara.

If the split happens, the MDC may see three factions in the country. The original party was started in 1999 by former trade union members before it split in 2005. Morgan Tsvangirai leads the mainstream faction.