21 January 2011

Zimbabwe: Ncube to Crack Whip

The new-look Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Welshman Ncube meets on Sunday to deliberate on possible deployment of its officials in the government of national unity (GNU) in the wake of the ousting of Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara from the helm of the party. Insiders in the party said there is pressure on Ncube from his supporters to move with speed to replace Mutambara in the coalition as the Deputy Prime Minister.

Although Ncube has been evasive on the possibility of Mutam-bara being recalled from his position, the same insiders said it would be "folly and politically immature" for the party to be represented by an ordinary member in the higher echelons of the GNU.

Ncube has already relinquished his post in the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee. He has been replaced by Qhubani Moyo, the party's national organising secretary.

Plans are now underway to appoint new members to government positions as part of the resolutions passed at the MDC's last congress early this month.

The sources insisted that the issue of deployment together with disciplinary action against "dissidents" that sought to disrupt the third congress of the party, which broke away from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in October 2005, would top the agenda of the party's national working committee slated for Sunday in Harare.

Disgruntled members of the MDC-M, led by former party chairman, Joubert Mudzumwe, had petitioned senior party leaders on the eve of the January 8-9 congress, citing alleged irregularities, including misuse of party finances, improper selection of delegates to the congress, selective application of discipline and shambolic party structures in Bulawayo and Chitungwiza among other things.

Mudzumwe, Hilda Sibanda and Tsitsi Dangarembga subsequently boycotted the two-day congress held at the City Sports Centre in Harare.

And last week some disgruntled members hinted they were contemplating legal action against the holding of an "illegal" congress.

Mudzumwe and his group maintain that Mutambara was still the legitimate president of the MDC-M, charges vehemently dismissed by new party leader, Ncube.

Kurauone Chihwayi, the deputy spokesperson of the MDC, confirmed to The Financial Gazette on Tuesday that the first working committee of the party had been lined up for Sunday.

"Firstly, I would like to say that our congress was a resounding success. The only attempt of interruption was on the last national council before the congress. However, the standing committee will meet for the first time following its election to review the congress and map the strategies for the future," said Chihwayi.

"The disciplinary issue of the rebels may be dealt with if it arises but our organisation has a disciplinary structure to deal with that, so in short the committee may only refer the issue for disciplinary hearing if it deems it necessary. You may be aware that they (the rebels) have declared that they are now in the process of forming their own organisation as they were rejected by all party structures nationally, a decision confirmed by 4 320 delegates at congress," he said.

The party's new national disciplinary committee is chaired by Moyo and deputised by Pharaoh Jele, a former football referee and administrator.

Chihwayi said the standing committee's mandate was to find ways in which to implement the resolutions of the congress, in order to prepare the party for the present and future challenges.

"If the members feel that the issue of deployment is important then we will discuss and come up with the resolutions but all this will be guided by the culture of collective leadership in the organisation and the idea will strongly be guided by the desire to strengthen the party," he said.

There are fears however, that any action against the disgruntled members could further split the smaller faction of the MDC.

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