Ncube tells Mugabe to ignore court challenge and appoint him Deputy PM

MDC leader Professor Welshman Ncube says he plans to hold a meeting with Robert Mugabe over the disputed deputy premiership post amid reports the party may pull-out of the coalition government over the issue.\r\n

Mugabe has insisted Ncube cannot become Deputy Prime Minister unless Professor Arthur Mutambara – replaced by Ncube as leader of the MDC in January – quits the post.

But Ncube said Mugabe could not take a position on until the matter is officially presented to him.

“We do not believe he can have any official position before he has heard us. If you were a lawyer, you would understand that. A judge cannot make a determination before the case has been formally placed and argued before him,” Ncube told the privately-owned weekly newspaper.

“The President must hear our case first. We will not therefore engage in any speculative debate. We cannot cross the bridge we have not arrived at.”

Following the MDC’s January congress the party reshuffled its representatives in the coalition administration with Ncube set to take over as deputy premier from Mutambara who was re-assigned to the post of Regional Integration Minister.

However, Mugabe said removing Mutambara from the deputy premiership was easier said than done

“They were able to remove him politically, but legally he was sworn in as a Member of Parliament,” Mugabe was reported as saying.

“I swore him in as Deputy Prime Minister. It’s up to him if he wants to resign, but if he refuses, well, we are stuck, but the Global (Political) Agreement (GPA) will go ahead.”

Mutambara — who has been out of the country – has not commented on the developments with local media reports indicating he would not resign.

Sources told the Financial Gazette that Mutambara was keen to remain in place to complete his projects that include the rebranding of the country and the promotion of public-private sector partnerships in infrastructure rehabilitation and development.

“Mutambara said he should be allowed to remain as the Deputy Prime Minister to see through two of his initiatives: rebranding Zimbabwe and the triple Ps. He said in return for that Ncube would have all the powers and would have the ultimate say on everything,” the newspaper quoted a source close to him as saying. 

Ncube however, warned Mutambara – who said he was now an ordinary MDC member — that “instruction(s) of the party” must be obeyed.

“Here we must always understand that loyal party cadres obey the instructions of the party when they are given,” Ncube said.

“In our view, as a party, it’s never about an individual stepping down from this or that post, it’s always about accepting the deployment, the command or the instruction of the party.”