SADC still recognises Mutambara not Ncube

THE Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation says it still recognises Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara as a principal in the inclusive Government.\r\n

The organ said it had received no formal advice as to any changes.

This follows attempts by new MDC leader Professor Welshman Ncube to replace DPM Mutambara following a party congress earlier this year.

Sources revealed last night that the Troika – comprising Presidents Rupiah Banda (Zambia), Jacob Zuma (South Africa) and Armando Guebuza (Mozambique) – took the decision before the summit met to discuss Zimbabwe’s political situation.

Prior to the summit, keen interest surrounded the representation of the MDC following DPM Mutambara’s ouster as party leader in January.

However, President Mugabe said he could not swear-in Prof Ncube as DPM as that would be fraught with legal complications.

Prof Ncube’s party subsequently sought a High Court order to bar DPM Mutambara from presenting himself as MDC leader or a principal in the inclusive Government.

The High Court granted a provisional order barring DPM Mutambara from acting as MDC leader but remained silent on his status as a principal, which at law means that the status quo remains unchanged.

DPM Mutambara has since filed court papers insisting he is still in charge of the party.

Prof Ncube turned up for the summit yesterday morning alongside MDC secretary-general Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and National Healing and Reconciliation Minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu.

Sources said the Troika resolved DPM Mutambara would participate in the proceedings in his capacity as a principal, effectively leaving his rival to continue with the role of negotiator in the inter-party talks.

"The Troika resolved that he would sit as principal because it did not receive any communication concerning leadership changes.

"So, in the end, it was resolved both would each have a seat."

The Troika started by deliberating the political and security situation in Madagascar and then discussed Zimbabwe for a couple of hours.

According to sources the main issue at stake was an electoral roadmap.

MDC-T is reportedly trying to have elections deferred to around May next year while Zanu-PF insist that general elections should be held this year around September.