MDC split: Coltart in a dilemma

Loughty Dube


MDC secretary for legal affairs, David Coltart, is in a dilemma over which side to back between Arthur Mutambara and the Morgan Tsvangirai factions, it has been established.

Mutambara’s faction has left the post of legal affairs secretar

y open as they wait for Coltart’s decision.
Coltart, who has said his political future will be decided after the final resolution of the MDC crisis, has repeatedly spurned overtures to join either camp.

During Mutambara’s congress in Bulawayo, Coltart was elected in absentia to the pro-senate executive as secretary for legal affairs, but he turned down the offer saying it was a mistake since he had indicated that he did not want to be elected to any position.

It emerged this week that the Mutambara faction has not filled the position.

Paul Themba Nyathi, the spokesperson for the camp, confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent that the position of secretary for legal affairs had not yet been filled.

“We are still looking for a suitable candidate,” he said. “We have a lot of suitable candidates interested in the position but we want to choose the most eligible,” Nyathi said.

Sources this week however said the Mutambara faction was struggling to find a candidate.

“Ever since the congress, it has been difficult to find a suitable candidate to fill the legal affairs portfolio and the faction still believes that Coltart will change his mind and accept the position,” one source said.

Coltart is the only MP in the MDC who did not align himself with either of the factions and says his major commitment is to see the MDC problem solved first.

The sources said Coltart was a vital link in opposition politics and each faction wanted to woo him to its camp to utilise his wide connections in the international community.

However, Coltart has remained adamant that he is not interested in joining either of the two factions yet.

“My decision on which faction I join, if they amicably separate, will be governed on the basis of which of the two sides is committed to a non-violent solution of the country’s problems,” Coltart said.

The move to spurn the two factions has left Coltart without a national executive post in either camp. 

“I have always wanted to preserve my neutrality so that I can be objective in my dealings with both camps,” Coltart said during an interview where he laid out his wishes for a united opposition MDC.

The Tsvangirai camp last week dismissed the Coltart settlement plan saying there was only one MDC, hence no need for talks.

However, insiders suggest this could represent political posturing and that talks between the two sides are still possible.

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