Barely a day after laying claim to the presidency of the smaller formation of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara was fired from the party by his successor as president, Welshman Ncube, and other top officials.
Mutambara on Wednesday launched a pre-emptive strike with a press conference in which he announced that he was re-assuming the presidency and firing Ncube, elected party chief in a congress last month whose outcome is being challenged by a dissident faction which has asked the High Court to declare the ballot irregular and void.
Ncube led a faction that in 2005 broke away from the original MDC founced in 1999 by now-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported that the leadership of the Ncube MDC formation said the party has referred Mutambara to the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe', who has refused to ask for Mutambara's resignation as deputy premier and swear in Ncube.
Secretary General Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, speaking after the party’s national council voted to expel Mutambara, said they will now be writing to South African President Jacob Zuma, mediator in Harare on behalf of the Southern African development community, asking him to back an amendment to the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing.
"We want to give Arthur (Mutambara) the position that he so desperately wants and hopefully we will have less public fights than we are having because we know its driven by him wanting to be deputy prime minister. He said it to me personally," said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
The GPA laid the foundation for the national unity government formed in February 2009 by the two MDC formations and ZANU-PF but which has been riven by quarrels ever since.
Meanwhile, the debate continues to rage among Zimbabweans following Thursday’s announcement by Ncube that he will no longer contest to be sworn in as deputy prime minister to remove Mutambara who’s refusing to resign claiming he’s still the leader of the MDC formation.
Since the saga began unfolding two weeks ago following the party’s controversial congress, Zimbabweans at home and abroad have been using social networking sites to discuss developments in this party, some supporting Mutambara and others backing Ncube.
For a closer look at the latest developments in the dispute, VOA Studio 7 turned to South African-based political analyst, George Mkhwananzi and UK-based analyst Musekiwa Makwanya for their persepective.
Mkhwananzi said by refusing to cede the position of deputy prime minister Ncube, Mutambara has shown he is as power hungry as Robert Mugabe.