Mutambara in political dustbin?

HARARE – After successfully ousting Arthur Mutambara from the presidency of his smaller Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction, Welshman Ncube’s path to the deputy prime ministerial post is all clear

While debate on the possibilities and hindrances to the constitutional professor’s march to power has been fierce, there is absolutely nothing in the scheming Ncube’s way to remove his foe from government.

Despite the “feigned” constitutional and President Robert Mugabe prerogative on who occupies executive office in the inclusive government, Ncube managed to topple the now lame–duck Mutambara at party level, where political power ordinarily resides in African politics.

Those in favour of this theory (Mugabe factor) cite the octogenarian leader’s refusal to swear in Roy Bennett, but save for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s complicit actions in the doddering leader’s political chicanery – by failing to take decisive action on the issue – Mugabe is, at best, using more ingenious ways to bar the MDC treasurer: criminality not constitution.

On the other hand, the Zanu PF leader has no cogent reason to block the swaggering Ncube.

Two centres of power

The two centres of power concept or picture playing out here will never work and can only serve one outcome: a Ncube win for whatever ends or pursuit.

When Malawi’s Bakili Muluzi and partly Frederick Chiluba tried to play super puppeteers with Mugabe friend Bingu wa Mtharika, and the late Levi Mwanawasa, the cohabiting phenomenon imploded and so shall it be in Zimbabwe.

For the uninitiated, the state-versus-party saga played out even more resoundingly or expressively when Jacob Zuma, the Zimbabwean Industry minister’s relative, defeated Thabo Mbeki in Polokwane in 2007 because his lackeys could not stomach having a "clever head" at Luthuli House.

Never one to be underestimated for both his brilliance and divisive selfish streak, one can safely say or declare that Ncube is neither impeded by Mugabe’s political whims nor GPA provisions, which gave rise or afforded Mutambara his current position.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai may want to shut out the ex–University of Zimbabwe lecturer for different reasons, but the latter’s own reform of his larger MDC faction and precedent thereof gives Ncube similar ammunition – for it was through nomination or secondment that representatives, if not mere signatories, of the three parties were installed in the executive branch of government.

Mugabe may well want the boisterous and naïve Mutambara, while Tsvangirai may fret over his erstwhile nemesis taking a bigger and important executive role, but its fait accompli as Ncube fully understands that state power is only bolstered by political party power and his Saturday acceptance speech was also instructive.

And in spite of the nice “reshuffle, not recall” political talk, Mutambara’s removal is sealed and it is now a matter of when, and whether the robotics professor will resurrect or not remains debatable.

Ncube’s grand plan

While Mutambara was presented as an “insurgent–with–a–cause” after the MDC’s 2005 split, he was nothing more than a “really towering tribal front” that could be dispensed with whenever it was convenient and the charade that the party’s elective conference turned out to be, especially in its selection of lightweights such as Edwin Mushoriwa, had some special meaning for Ncube’s ego trips.

A businessman, consultant and, significantly, Zuma’s relative, the 50–year old law expert is certainly aiming higher: what with suggestions abounding in recent years that he was angling to be Zimbabwe’s foreign minister. Only in pariah states like Mugabe’s are foreign departments inconsequential.

Ncube has had a big role in much of Zimbabwe’s constitutional projects – publicly and otherwise, including the much talked about Kariba draft – and he has cast himself as a refined nationalist, traits which have even endeared  him to Mugabe and  Zanu PF.

That he has even managed to present himself as a calm, rational and key power broker between government and commercial interests to the extent of convincing Mugabe to privatise the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company also shows his cunning organisational skills.

Unlike Mutambara’s hollow rantings or posturing that he will be state president one day, Zimbabweans have much to fear and admire in people like Ncube for the man certainly remains a relevant force in Zimbabwe’s political landscape – what with talk of a new southern front with Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu.

With history, circumstances and a bit of luck favouring a certain individual, he has demonstrated that one can shape their own destiny, while asserting the view that: with guts comes glory and no amount of expedient political opposition can stop in your way.

And as it is known that with "success comes greed", one hopes Ncube is not "running ahead of himself" and will not scale new heights of even toppling himself over. – Daily News