ONE of the most dramatic pronouncements in the history of the inclusive government is the one made by the outgoing Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Arthur Mutambara regarding his future after a cabinet reshuffle recommendation by the MDC. In his long and winding four-page statement which covered 18 paragraphs in its 1479 number of words the outgoing DPM makes lots of illogical, inconsistent and untrue arguments on why he thinks he should remain in government.
The most striking thing about the statement is that it lacks cohesion; it is poor in syntax, hollow in political arguments and bankrupt in legal arguments.
Be that as it may be, his pronouncements are very important in that they set a new meaning of democracy in that an individual can embrace a party congress to an extent of congratulating the new leadership and pronouncing his readiness to serve the party diligently as an ordinary foot soldier, only to emerge after 30 days and 30 nights with arguments that are not only inconsistent with his pronouncements at congress but also highly embarrassing and a negation of the very democratic values that they have projected to promote.
The pronouncements by the outgoing DPM that he would cling on to the position despite the party‘s position to redeploy him to another ministry flies in the face of his usual claims that he a is a democrat. The attempts to play victim of a well mechanised scheme to eliminate him from the political radar through an illegitimate congress do not only make him a hopeless politician, but also a political caricature that lacks democratic values.
But because the issues he raises are of importance in as far as they have a bearing on the way the government is constituted it would be important to deal with them blow by blow. The first issue is that Mutambara is being dishonest to the people of Zimbabwe by lying in a statement written in the official letterhead of the government he took an oath to serve truthfully and honestly.
It is clear that Mutambara who for a long time has tried to fool Zimbabweans to believe that be belongs to a generation of Zimbabweans who view leadership as a relay in which the baton is passed from one person to the other actually belongs to the same crop of leaders who will engage in all sorts of chicanery to stay in power. Zimbabweans are not fools as he has been exposed as a pseudo-democrat who preaches democracy with one corner of the mouth, and speaks tyranny and dictatorship with the other.
Reading through his statement it is interesting that Mutambara has the audacity to claim that it was not out of anyone’s benevolence that he became DPM, yet everyone including little kids know that it is out of the benevolence of the MDC that he is DPM. Mutambara must stop treating Zimbabweans like robots who cannot think for themselves.
Just for the record the GPA states categorically clear that there shall be a president who will continue to be Robert Mugabe, a Prime Minister who will be Morgan Tsvangirai and DPMs from MDC-T and from the MDC-M as it was commonly referred then.
Therefore Mutambara is merely occupying a position in government at the behest of the party not as an individual. Also one other argument that is hollow is one which says that sitting DPM cannot be removed more so if he is a principal.
The fact is Mutambara is no longer a principal; principals are leaders of political parties and as such he is no longer one by virtue of losing the MDC presidency.
The other silly argument is the one that says there is no provision for removal of a DPM, an argument which was started by Lovemore Madhuku whose understanding of the law has always been suspect.
How can someone advance the argument that the constitution only allows for an entry into office but does not provide for an exit? Mutambara and his string of poor lawyers like Madhuku must stop lying to the nation because a prime minister or deputy prime minister are just senior ministers. In the British parliamentary system that we inherited they are referred to as a “senior among equals”. Also if you check any English dictionary it tells you that a prime minister is a senior minister.
Therefore the clause that guides the removal of ministers from office without doubt applies to the DPM. If you check the GPA on the composition of the government, clause seven states that ministers and deputy ministers may be relieved of their duties only after consultation among the leaders of the political parties participating in the inclusive government. In this case being a minister as already argued, Mutambara’s removal from government can be done by a mere consultation by leaders of the three parties namely Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Welshman Ncube as per the provision of the GPA.
The mantra that Mutambara is an ex-officio MP who cannot be removed by any party is factually incorrect and therefore hollow, and again Madhuku lies to Mutambara that his parliamentary position is ex-officio like that of the Attorney-General. How unfortunate. In Zimbabwe the only person who is directly elected into government is the president, the rest are appointed from parliament. This means that one has to be an MP before they are in cabinet. If they are not they given 90 days to get a seat.
In the case of Mutambara he is a MP ex-officio representing the MDC. It is the MDC that was allocated an additional three ex-officio MPs and it then sent Mutambara, so the seat is effectively a party seat.
The party is therefore allowed to remove any one from that seat as long as he no longer represents its interests. Accordingly for Mutambara to be DPM he first had to be an MP and the moment he is removed from the party and the speaker of parliament informed of the position he ceases to be DPM. That is the law!
What many Zimbabweans are eager to know is whose interests will Mutambara continue to serve in government if he is fired from the MDC. It also interesting that Mutambara as an ordinary member of the party thinks he can hold the party’s highest position in government.Where in the world can you have an ordinary member of the party occupying your highest government position?
Mutambara must walk his talk about democracy and stop emulating the likes of Laurent Ggabo and Mwai Kibaki who are clinging to power despite having been defeated in polls. He has no moral or legal authority to remain in government
l Moyo is the National Organising Secretary of the MDC. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
(On Wednesday Mutambara addressed a press conference where he stated that he had fired Welshman Ncube from the MDC.)