Showdown looms between Mutambara, Ncube

Johannesburg- A showdown is looming between Prof Arthur Mutambara and Prof Welshman Ncube at the forthcoming SADC summit, with both MDC leaders insisting on taking their negotiating teams at the regional summit.

Mutambara and Ncube have both been invited to the summit.

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SADC Executive Secretary,Tomaz Augusto Salomao, told The Mail yesterday: “We invited Prof Mutambara as the Deputy Prime Minister and Prof Ncube as the MDC president.

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Prof Ncube will bring along the party’s negotiators.”

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The Mail is also in possession of invitation letters written to the two warring professors.

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The letters to Profs Mutambara and Ncube dated 3 June 2011, Reference No.

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SADC /8 / 013 / 1 say : “On behalf of the Chairperson of SADC and the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, His Excellencies President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Rupiah Banda, I have the pleasure to invite Your Honour To The Extra Ordinary Summit to be held in Sandton, Republic of South Africa on 11 June, 2011.

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“The Summit will discuss the current political developments in the Region, in particular the current political situation in Zimbabwe. Please accept, Your Honour, the assurances of my highest consideration,” read the letter signed by Salomao.

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Mutambara’s party claims Ncube has been invited as one of the negotiators of the GPA and not as the MDC president.

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As a result, Mutambara was heading to the SADC summit with two negotiators from his party, including chairman Joubert Mudzumwe and an unnamed Harare-based lawyer.

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Mutambara wants Ncube’s two negotiators, Moses Mzila-Ndlovu and Priscilla Misihirabwi-Mushonga, replaced by his people.

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Mutambara was not immediately available yesterday for comment amid reports he had travelled to Mutare for Edgar Tekere’s funeral.

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However, a spokesman for his party, Maxwell Zimuto, insisted yesterday: “Prof Mutambara was invited as a principal because he is the legitimate leader of the MDC and Prof Ncube was invited as a negotiator of the GPA.”

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“Prof Mutambara will be accompanied by Joubert Mudzumwe and a senior party member.”

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A spokesperson for Ncube’s MDC, Nhlanhla Dube, said SADC must be wary of the machinations of Prof Mutambara’s group.

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“SADC must guard against the attention-seeking and legitimacy-scavenging of the desperate Prof Mutambara gang,” Dube said. “They have become so desperately dangerous to an extent of wanting to advertise their desperation at serious regional functions like SADC.

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The regional body must defend its sanctity that is at risk of erosion.”

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When the MDC held its congress on 8-9 January,2011, in Harare, Prof Mutambara decided not to seek re-election and gracefully stepped down, handing over the baton to Prof Welshman Ncube, who took over as the new MDC president.

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However, a national council decision to recall Mutambara from the office of Deputy Prime Minister saw Mutambara making a volte face and seeking to claw back the presidency he had surrendered at the congress.

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The circus since then has been tragic-comic, with both professors claiming to be the rightful MDC leaders.

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Mutambara recently organized his own National Council meeting in Harare where his camp resolved that Mudzumwe will act in all matters where the president is required until the High Court process that is expected to make a determination of who the rightful MDC president is has been discharged.

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President Robert Mugabe has refused to administer oath of office on Prof Ncube as the Deputy Prime Minister until the “internal matters of the MDC” are resolved and the court process is over. – The Mail