I was not snubbed – Mutambara

HARARE – Mutambara, who wanted his rival Prof Welshman Ncube's negotiators Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Moses Mzila-Ndlovu to be replaced by Joubert Mudzumwe and Tsitsi Dangarembga, was humiliated after SADC refused to accept his two officials.

Media reports suggested that an infuriated Mutambara returned home while the SADC summit was in progress because he had been snubbed. He was spotted on Sunday at the burial of Edgar Tekere at the National Heroes Acre, spawning intense speculation why he was not with the other two principals President Mugabe and prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Sandton.

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MDC-T MP Matthias Mlambo asked the DPM to brief the lower house what transpired at the summit.

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Mutambara said there was a fixture congestion in terms of the logistics and planning of the summit.

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“The motivation was that the meeting was supposed to happen on Saturday at 1400 hours the 11th June 2011,” Mutambara told the House of Assembly. “That was the time and day for the SADC Summit. As you are aware, there was a funeral for Albertina Sisulu that dragged our summit into the evening and to the next day the 12th June 2011, Sunday.

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“As you are aware, there was a national hero we were burying in the country, Edgar Tekere. There was a plan and a possibility for the Zimbabwean delegations to go to South Africa, attend the Summit and come back to bury Edgar Tekere on Sunday. However, this became a challenge. Unfortunately, because the summit was delayed from 1400 hours, on Saturday 11th June to Sunday 12th June 2011 evening. It was not possible for the delegation to come back to Zimbabwe and bury Edgar Tekere. That is when, yours truly, Mutambara made a decision that our colleagues would continue to negotiate and do justice to our country but Mutambara would come back to bury Edgar Tekere. This must be understood by these busy bodies in the media that it was a deliberate decision by the Deputy Prime Minister to be present at the burial of the hero of heroes, Edgar Tekere. That is why I was present in the country.”

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Mutambara said the outcome of the SADC Summit in Sandton was a victory for the people of Zimbabwe in their generality.

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“It was a victory for democracy,” he said. “It was a victory for the people of Zimbabwe. This means the political parties in this country should not try to score points against each other over the summit. There was no loser, no winner in SADC in terms of political parties. This means the SADC Summit was a victory for the people of Zimbabwe. No defeated party and no victorious party, but just a victorious nation,” Mutambara said in apparent reference to the different responses that have been garnered on the communique issued after the summit.

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A communique issued after the summit was ambigous on the resolution of the March 31 meeting of the SADC Troika Organ on Politics, Defence and Security that met in the Zambian resort of Livingstone.

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President Mugabe’s Zanu PF said the Livingstone communique had been “noted” and not endorsed.

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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party said the fact that the full SADC summit communique had urged the Organ Troika to appoint representatives to participate in the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) and oversee implementation of the GNU resolutions – a key resolution of Livingstone – meant the Livingstone communique had been endorsed.

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> Mutambara told the House of Assembly that Zimbabwe must not be reduced to a nation that debates between the difference between noted or endorsed.

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“It is the words a travesty to our common sense and integrity as a nation to be reduced to a bunch of people who debate whether the Troika Report from Livingstone was endorsed or noted,” Mutambara said.

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“We must realise that neighbours, SADC and South Africa are there to enable us, to facilitate us. The buck stops with us. The solutions to our country reside in this august House. Let us have pride and honour. We cannot out-source the management of our country to Mswati and Zuma. We have the capacity in this country to run our affairs. While we are grateful to SADC and South Africa, I want to appeal to all of us to say let us find each other. Let us resolve our challenges together as opposed to expecting foreigners and external players to provide solutions to ourselves.”

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Mutambara said the SADC summit had a good outcome.

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“The outcome from the SADC is good for the country,” Mutambara said. “Let us not score points against each other. Let us implement the GPA completely. Let us work on the time lines for the road map. Let us make sure we embrace recommendations on JOMIC and create conditions in our country for free and fair elections.” – The Zimbabwean