THE MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube this week wrote to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe and Sadc facilitator Jacob Zuma of South Africa proposing an amendment to the global political agreement (GPA) to allow its former leader Arthur Mutambara to continue as deputy premier on a Zanu PF ticket.
In separate letters with mostly similar wording dated February 14, MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga proposed that negotiators in the three parties in the inclusive government should meet under the guidance of the facilitation team to agree on the amendment.
“Thus we propose that the GPA be amended in such a way that the relevant portion of Article 20.1.6 of the global political agreement should read: ‘There shall be two deputy prime ministers, one from MDC-T and one from Zanu PF, with the Zanu PF position being occupied by professor AGO Mutambara’,” the letters read.
Letters to Mugabe and Tsvangirai read: “The amendment will resolve the current predicament where an individual who is no longer a member of our party is holding a DPM position reserved for our party”, the letter to Zuma said. The “amendment will resolve the current problem wherein Professor Mutambara, who is no longer a member of the MDC, is presumed to be our nominee”.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the amendment would also address Mutambara’s expressed desire to continue in government whilst working outside “political party idiosyncrasies”.
“We hope, therefore, that this amendment will be speedily effected to allow us to concentrate on government programmes that will ensure a free and fair election, where the winner is not constantly pressured to compromise principle in order to achieve political stability,” she said in letters to Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
Two days ago, Ncube’s party was granted a High Court interim relief, which interdicted Mutambara from exercising “any function” vested in the president of the party until finalisation of a High Court case where a faction loyal to Mutambara is challenging Ncube’s ascendancy to the MDC presidency.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou ruled that: “the respondent is interdicted from purporting to be the President of the Movement for Democratic Change.”
In the letter to Zuma, Misihairabwi-Mushonga outlined the outcome of the party congress on January 8 and 9 and a resolution by the party’s standing committee to reshuffle the team in the inclusive government.
It was resolved that Ncube takes over from Mutambara and the deputy premier was re-assigned to the Ministry of Regional Integration and International Cooperation and Misihairabwi-Mushonga to Industry and Commerce.
She also briefed Zuma on Ncube’s meetings with Mugabe on February 8 and 9.
During the meeting the president made it clear that he would not swear into office Ncube as deputy premier as long as there was in existence a pending court petition by some disgruntled party members.
The MDC said Mugabe indicated to Ncube that he would consult Tsvangirai over the party’s decision to reshuffle the MDC team in government.
“He (Mugabe) was categorical about his political position on the matter which was that he was not prepared to put to effect our proposal unless the former party president, Professor Mutambara voluntarily resigned as deputy prime minister,” read the letter to Zuma.
“This was essentially a complete refusal to recognise the party and its new leadership and amounted to Zanu PF having the right to determine for the MDC the composition of its government.”
This position, she said, was taken into consideration by the party’s national council, which concluded that Mugabe’s decision was a pretext to shield Mutambara for Zanu PF’s political interests.
“In light of President Mugabe’s stance which we understood will never change in the same way that his stance on swearing in of Roy Bennett has not changed in two years of constant pleas, it was best that the party should simply give up on the deputy prime minister post as allocated to it in the GPA so that the post be allocated to Zanu PF so that it can continue to be occupied by Mutambara, but on a Zanu PF ticket since his continued stay in the government is now at the behest of Zanu PF and hence must be regarded as a Zanu PF deployee in government,” read the letter to Zuma.