PRINCIPALS in the global political agreement have reportedly agreed to create an extra non-constituency senatorial seat to enable MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda to secure his cabinet post.
Sibanda was appointed Minister of State in Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambaraâ€™s office despite him not being an MP.
The constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates that cabinet posts should be held by legislators and if a non-MP is appointed minister, he or she must find a constituency within three months.
Sources in government said President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mutambara had agreed to create a senate seat for Sibanda before month-end. Sibanda would lose his cabinet post if the seat was not created by then.
The sources said the MDC initially tried to persuade MPs from the party to step down and accommodate Sibanda, but they declined.
The partyâ€™s deputy secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that Sibandaâ€™s status in cabinet was referred to Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara.
â€œThe issue of Sibanda is now before the principals,â€ Misihairabwi-Mushonga said. â€œThe principals are the ones who negotiated the cabinet portfolios and appointed the ministers and they will decide Sibandaâ€™s fate.â€
Sources said the creation of an additional senate seat would be gazetted before the end of the month and will be occupied by Sibanda.
â€œThe issue of Sibanda has been a thorn in the flesh for Mutambara and he was left with no option but to take up the issue with the other two principals who created a seat for him in the senate,â€ one of the sources said.
It could not be established at the time of going to press yesterday what the other two parties got in return for accommodating Sibanda.
Sibanda failed to retain his parliamentary seat in Nkulumane, Bulawayo, after he lost to MDC-Tâ€™s Thamsanqa Mahlangu in the March 2008 harmonised elections.
BY LOUGHTY DUBE