The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Professors Ncube, Mutambara Lock Horns

Professor Welshman Ncube and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara have locked horns ahead of the constitutional Second All Stakeholders Conference as both factions claim to be legitimate representatives of the MDC party to the event. The conference is set to be held from the 4th to the 6th of October. Delegates from political parties and civil society will meet to discuss the Copac draft constitution.

Prof Ncube, whose leadership is being contested at the Supreme Court by a faction aligned to DPM Mutambara, last week told The Herald that his party was the "only one" entitled to send representatives to the event.

However, the faction aligned to the DPM, which calls itself MDC-M said it would send its delegates and was "ready" for the critical indaba.

"There is only one MDC -- this MDC. We will be sending representatives and members to the Second All Stakeholders Conference," said Prof Ncube while addressing a rally in Mutoko on Friday.

"We are the elected leadership and we know there is a case pending in the courts. Unless and until the courts rule otherwise there will be one MDC, which I lead," he said.

However, the faction aligned to Prof Mutambara, was adamant.

The faction's secretary general Mr Maxwell Zimuto yesterday shot down Prof Ncube's claim to represent the party.

"Prof Ncube is entitled to his own personal opinion," said Mr Zimuto.

"MDC-M is a legitimate party and a signatory to the Global Political Agreement, being represented at the senior level in Government by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara," said Mr Zimuto.

"There is a pending Supreme Court case and until it rules otherwise we are entitled to a share of what happens in the party," he said.

The parties to the inclusive Government have agreed to send two documents -- the draft constitution and the national statistical report to the all stakeholders' conference to be debated.

Past clashes between the two professors have seen Prof Mutambara's faction being excluded at the Anti-Violence Indaba last November as top bodies of the GPA parties met in Harare to discuss peace in Zimbabwe's body politic.

Last month Prof Mutambara was left out of the political parties during a meeting with GPA mediator, South African President Jacob Zuma in Harare.

Meanwhile, Prof Ncube on Friday reiterated that MDC-T led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was a corrupt and violent outfit.

He said such practices led to the split in 2005.

The MDC leader recently told BBC HardTalk programme that the MDC-T was a violent and corrupt party.

"This is not speculation," said Prof Ncube.

"We saw violence within the united MDC and the MDC-T has continued to deploy violence to deal with people in and outside the party," he said.

He added that that the cases of officials such as Frank Chamunorwa, Trudy Stevenson, Alois Mudzingwa being attacked by thugs aligned to PM Tsvangirai were on record and that MDC-T's last congress in Bulawayo was marred by violence.

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