Realising the constitutional challenge giving Mutambara a strong platform, Welshman Ncube’s party capitulated and resolved that Mutambara should stay on as Deputy Prime Minister in the unity government, but not on its ticket.
The MDC-N said it took the position after Robert Mugabe told the party’s newly-elected leader Welshman Ncube “in no uncertain terms” on Tuesday that he would not swear him in as Deputy Prime Minister.
The Zimbabwe Mail understand from Zanu PF sources that Mugabe outlined to Ncube, a Constitutional Law expert himself, the Constitutional repercussions of judicial precedence.
Now the MDC-N says it considers Mutambara a Zanu PF member, and would be seeking an amendment to the 2008 power sharing pact, known as the Global Political Agreement, to reflect that.
MDC secretary general Priscilla Misihairabwi, speaking after the party’s national council voted by a two thirds majority to expel Mutambara, said they would be writing to South African President Jacob Zuma – the regionally-appointed mediator in Zimbabwe – to seek the amendment.
“We are now saying given Mugabe’s stance, they [Zanu PF] can have that position that was allocated to us, so that Mutambara becomes their Deputy Prime Minister,” Misihairabwi said.
Misihairabwi said they would not be seeking to occupy the deputy premiership and would now focus on rebuilding their party and preparing for elections.
“We want to give Arthur the position that he so desperately wants and hopefully we will have less public fights than we are having because we know its driven by him wanting to be Deputy Prime Minister. He said it to me personally.”
The GPA, signed in September 2008, allocated Zanu PF the presidency and two vice presidents; the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC the premiership and a deputy premiership and the Mutambara-led MDC a deputy premiership.
The parties also allocated ministerial portfolios to reflect the March 2008 general election vote share, with Zanu PF getting 15, Tsvangirai’s MDC 13 and the Mutambara MDC three.
But with all the MDC’s three ministers — Ncube, Misihairabwi and David Coltart — at Thursday’s national council meeting, the party says Mutambara will not speak for it in government.
Only on Wednesday, Mutambara had tried to pre-empt his expulsion by purporting to fire Ncube. But it was immediately pointed out that he has no such authority under the party’s constitution.
Mutambara, who led the party since 2006, resisted attempts to move him over and make him Minister for Regional Integration, with Ncube replacing him as Deputy Prime Minister.
The robotics professor claimed that as a signatory to the GPA, his position was guaranteed and he should be allowed to stay on for the life of the unity government.