Mugabe working with Ncube and Mutambara to end GNU – Zanu PF source

HARARE – The dramatised public spat between Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara and his Secretary General Professor Welshman Ncube is a Zanu PF hatchet job in which both parties are willing participants in order to influence the end of the coalition government, an impeccable source close to President Mugabe revealed this morning.

The source, whose identity cannot be revealed, said President Mugabe is working with both Mutambara and Ncube for them to pull out of the coalition government and stop the current constitutional reform process.

President Mugabe and his party will then revert back to the old constitutional arrangement and call for June 2011 elections.

It has also been revealed that President Mugabe has in the past two years assigned his Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a close friend of Ncube to encourage the MDC Secretary General to wrestle leadership of the party from Mutambara, while he, Mugabe took personal responsibility of dealing with the robotics professor. Mugabe has shoved Mutambara into his pockets and manipulated him right to this end.

Mutambara was recruited into Zimbabwean politics by members of the State Central Intelligence Organisation Gabriel Chaibva and Frank Chamunorwa; both men are still on the payroll of the spy agency. Chaibva and Chamunorwa infiltrated the MDC right from the start of the MDC.

In recent years, Mugabe has deployed senior party officials, University lecturers, retired army and Intelligence officials to infiltrate the opposition.

Deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara today faces expulsion from his party, MDC-M, after refusing to step down from the government following his defeat at the party’s controversial congress last month.

But Mr Mutambara yesterday launched a pre-emptive strike and announced at a press conference in Harare he had expelled his bitter rival in the faction, Prof Welshman Ncube. The MDC-M held its congress from January 8-9 and Mr Mutambara lost the party leadership to Secretary-general Prof Ncube after withdrawing from the race fearing defeat.

Following the congress, Mr Mutambara was reshuffled from being deputy prime minister to minister but he refused, saying Prof Ncube was not the legitimate leader of the party.

He also said he could not abandon several government projects.

The MDC-M — now MDC-N since the congress — is expected to convene a national council meeting today which will strip Mr Mutambara of party membership and expel him for defying party orders, including his redeployment to the post of minister of regional integration and international co-operation.

Prof Ncube was re-assigned from being minister of trade and industry to become deputy prime minister. Minister of Regional Integration and International Co-operation Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga was expected to replace Prof Ncube as minister of trade and industry.

Mr Mutambara said the congress was not properly constituted, and so Prof Ncube was not legitimately elected as leader. He also cited a high court case in which 13 members of the party were challenging Prof Ncube’s ascendancy, saying until such time as a ruling has been made he remains party leader and deputy prime minister.

Prof Ncube yesterday confirmed his party would meet today to determine Mr Mutambara’s fate. Prof Ncube said he had met President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday on the issue, but the president told him his hands were tied. He accused Mr Mugabe of defending Mr Mutambara because he "regurgitated all his arguments" in the meeting. He said he would consult Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai next.

Prof Ncube said it was clear Mr Mutambara was "a Zanu (PF) political puppet". But Mr Mutambara yesterday dismissed the accusation, saying that Prof Ncube was no longer a member of the party, since he had been expelled.

"I have no intention to leave the position of deputy prime minister. I will not abdicate from my national responsibilities in order to satisfy narrow party-political aspirations. In our national constitution, there is no facility for a political party to recall a sitting deputy prime minister," Mr Mutambara said.

"In the Global Political Agreement (GPA), while there is provision to reshuffle ministers after consultation among the three p principals, there is no provision to remove a GPA principal. Neither is there an instrument to remove a sitting deputy prime minister, more so when he or she is also a principal."

Mr Mutambara said Prof Ncube and the party did not even have the power to remove him as appointed MP, citing the constitution.

MDC-N officials said the party would respond today by dismissing Mr Mutambara and then asking Mr Mugabe to withdraw him from his position as deputy prime minister.