THE Arthur Mutambara led-MDC faces a revolt within its ranks after its leader allegedly agreed on all issues under discussion with President Robert Mugabe during the Sadc-initiated dialogue mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki.
It has emerged that the majority of MPs, senators and supporters in the party structures in Matabeleland are up in arms over the decision by Mutambara to take sides with Mugabe.
Elected officials in the party said there was no way Mutambara could have found common ground with Mugabe.
MP-elect for Mangwe, Edward Tshotsho Mkhosi, told the press he would quit the faction if Mutambara agrees with Mugabe a deal that excludes the president of the main MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai.
“No, I will not watch history being repeated,” he said. “We have seen Zanu PFâ€™s strategy of divide and rule in the past and this time it will not work, not this time,” Mkhosi said.
Khumalo Senator David Coltart also said he would not agree to a deal between his partyâ€™s leadership and Mugabe and expressed doubt that the majority of the executive would support that decision.
An MP from Matabeleland South said if Mutambara sold out, lawmakers from Matabeleland were prepared to quit the party.
“If what President Mbeki said to reporters after the talks in Harare is anything to go by then we have a big problem within the party because there is no way we could be associated with a decision that favours Mugabe,” the legislator said. “The position on the talks that we had as a party is similar to that of the Morgan Tsvangirai formation and Mutambara has to explain to the national council why he decided to take sides with Mugabe.”
Mbeki told reporters after the talks were adjourned on Tuesday that Mugabe and Mutambara had agreed on almost everything while Tsvangirai had a problem with one item under negotiation.
Another MP from Matabeleland North said Mutambara did not consult the party on backing Zanu PFâ€™s move for Mugabe to retain executive powers in a unity government.
“People are angry at that decision and they are shocked with Mutambaraâ€™s position because the people of this region (Matabeleland) have said they do not want Mugabe as a leader,” said the lawmaker. “The move by Mutambara to support Mugabeâ€™s bid to remain in power is shocking to people from Matabeleland.
The legislator said Mutambara did not consult widely adding that they were prepared to defend the peopleâ€™s position even if it means joining the MDC-Tsvangirai formation.
“The decision by Mutambara to back Mugabe is disgusting and the people of Matabeleland, which Mutambara claim to represent through the 10 parliamentary seats won in the region, have always said since 1980 that they are tired of Mugabe. We, therefore, are prepared to cause by-elections in our constituencies by leaving the party in order to defend the will of the people,” the legislator said. Civic society leaders in Matabeleland also said the decision by Mutambara to take sides with Mugabe was a betrayal of the region.
Bulawayo Agenda executive director Gorden Moyo said Mutambaraâ€™s decision to embrace Mugabe replicates the 1987 Unity Accord where people from the region felt betrayed by PF-Zapu.
“Working with Mugabe in any form replicates the 1987 agreement which led to the submergence of one political party by another and people from Matabeleland will frown on any attempt by their leaders to work with Mugabe without the March 29 victors,” Moyo said.
“The MDC Mutambara faction is now serving the purpose they were called for in the talks, which is to play a script that was written before the talks.”
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) media committee member in Matabeleland, Justin Ndlovu, said the Mutambara faction by agreeing with Mugabe was selling out on the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe and said the faction was finished politically.
“Mutambaraâ€™s backing of Mugabe is typical of the Bishop Abel Muzorewaâ€™s betrayal under the internal settlement, but the Mutambara faction is finished and the people of Matabeleland do not forget easily and they will punish them in future,” Ndlovu said. â€“â€“ Staff Writer/Telegraph.