THE Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has declared that they recognise MDC leader Welshman Ncube as a principal in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) contrasting ZANU-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s choice of Arthur Mutambara.
President Mugabe and Tsvangirai have maintained that Mutambara was more legitimate despite lack of political base which many say the former student leader was more of ZANU-PF poodle.
Zanu PF have since reacted angrily to the decision by Sadc to recognise Ncube with a politburo member launching a tirade against South African President Jacob Zuma for initiating the move.
Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo accused Zuma of helping Ncube to “now double-dip by posing as a GPA principal”.
The just-ended Sadc summit in Mozambique refused to accept Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara as a principal.
Sources who attended the summit on Saturday said Mutambara left Maputo with egg on his face after Zuma — the Sadc mediator in Zimbabwe’s political impasse — refused to entertain him for the second time in as many days.
Zuma refused to meet Mutambara when he visited Harare on Wednesday for an update on the implementation of the GPA with his facilitation team stating that the Deputy Prime Minister did not represent any party in the inclusive government.
President Robert Mugabe’s attempts to protect the robotics professor at the summit also failed spectacularly after regional leaders spoke against the stance.
The sources said Mugabe spoke for about two hours in Mutambara’s defence.
Ncube said the veteran ruler’s interpretation of the GPA was disputed by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Botswana President Ian Khama.
Kikwete is the new chairman of the Sadc Troika on Peace, Defence and Security that is seized with the Zimbabwe political dispute.
“When President Mugabe sought to draw a distinction between party leaders and GPA principals, the summit firmly rejected that distinction insisting that Mutambara did not sign the GPA in his personal capacity, but in his representative capacity as the leader of the MDC,” Ncube said.
“By the end of the day, even President Mugabe was forced to concede that on political matters, such as that of the negotiations for a new constitution, he was duty-bound to deal with the MDC leadership as elected at the party congress.
“Only President Michael Sata of Zambia argued that the issue of Mutambara was an internal issue which should not concern Sadc.”
Ncube said Mutambara invited the embarrassment on himself by taking the issue of the leadership contest to the summit.
“This whole debate would not have taken place had Mutambara not arrogantly raised the issue before the Troika and Sadc would not have de-recognised him had he not put the matter up for discussion,” he said.
Moyo, a Zanu PF politburo member used his regular column in the State media yesterday to launch an astonishing attack on Zuma accusing him of abusing his role as mediator to help Ncube politically because they were related.
Ncube’s son is married to Zuma’s daughter.
“Zuma used his much-awaited night visit to Harare ostensibly to review GPA progress ahead of Friday’s Sadc summit in Maputo to unilaterally install Welshman Ncube, who is also an in-law of his, as a GPA principal in a manner that shockingly violated Zimbabwe’s Constitution and sovereignty,” Moyo wrote.
“Welshman Ncube has had his say on the Copac draft constitution as one of its drafters.
“He must now let the GPA principals do their work unhindered and he certainly must refrain from pushing his in-laws in South Africa to bid for his politically hopeless and illegal cause.”
Mutambara made way for Ncube at the MDC congress as party leader, but refused to be recalled from the DPM’s post.
A group linked to him challenged the outcome of the congress at the High Court and lost the case.
The MDC successfully sought to bar him from masquerading as a principal in the inclusive government in the High Court.
The group aligned to Mutambara has appealed against both rulings at the Supreme Court.
Mugabe has refused to force the former University of Zimbabwe student leader to step down and has received support from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka yesterday refused to comment on the latest developments on Mutambara’s status.
“Our principal leads his own party and does not want to be seduced to comment on problems bedevilling other political parties,” he said.
Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was unavailable for comment as his phone was not reachable.