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Smaller Branch of Zimbabwe's MDC Disputes Deputy PM Slot After Shuffle

  • Chris Gande

The smaller MDC wing was reacting to Mr. Mugabe’s statement on the weekend that to remove Arthur Mutambara from his current position would pose legal issues, so he would only swear in Welshman Ncube, president of the party, if Mutambara were to resign from the government

The formation of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change headed by Welshman Ncube said Monday that it disagrees with President Robert Mugabe’s assertion that for him to shift Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara from his position would violate the 2008 Global Political Agreement underpinning power sharing in Harare.

The smaller MDC wingt was reacting to Mr. Mugabe’s statement on the weekend that to remove Mutambara from his current position would pose legal issues, thus he would only swear in formation President Ncube if Mutambara resigned from the government.

Mutambara did not contest the presidency of the party at its congress in early January, paving the way for then-Industry Minister Ncube to take over from him.

Ncube, who is a lawyer, maintained in an interview with VOA Studio 7 reporter Chris Gande that a precedent was set when the president of the larger MDC wing, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, reshuffled his team in the government.

But constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku, head of the National Constitutional Assembly, said Mr. Mugabe is correct in the position he had taken, and that the MDC formation should sort out the matter itself and not ask Mr. Mugabe for action.

In other political news, violence broke out again on Monday in the capital's Mbare high-density suburb where the local office of the Tsvangirai MDC was set on fire by a mob of 100 alleged ZANU-PF militants. The marauders also torched the house of City Councillor Paul Gorekore, whose two brothers were feared to have been abducted.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Thomas Chiripasi, reporting from in Mbare late Monday, said that the situation in the MDC stronghold was tense but calm.

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