MDC faction leader tells SADC that Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been deliberately excluding him.
Welshman Ncube, the leader of the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has written to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete to complain about being sidelined by his counterparts in the unity government, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Kikwete is the chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) organ on politics, defence and security co-operation.
In his letter dated March 28 2013 obtained by the Mail & Guardian, Ncube accuses Mugabe and Tsvangirai of deliberately and continuously excluding him from major issues affecting the coalition government. He said the two disregarded the 2010 SADC Maputo resolution, which determined that he should be regarded as a principal to the global political agreement, which formed the basis of the coalition government in 2009, instead of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
Ncube, who is also the minister of industry and international trade in the coalition government, ousted Mutambara as the leader of the smaller faction of the MDC in 2010, but the two have since been locked in battles for the presidency of their party in court.
Ncube charges that Mugabe and Tsvangirai have "made repeated efforts to exclude myself from the process of resolving the disagreements over the new Constitution" by continually meeting Mutambara regarding the constitution-making process, "while deliberately excluding myself".
He said, for example, at the last meeting to resolve the sticking issues on the content of the draft Constitution, not only did Mugabe and Tsvangirai bring Mutambara to the meeting, they also attempted to exclude Ncube from the process by requiring that the report of the negotiators be made to the three of them, "while I was allowed to sit in the meeting as some kind of 'observer'.
"This attitude has persisted up to now," said Ncube.
Asked about Ncube's alleged exclusion, Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo expressed ignorance, saying: "He [Ncube] is a principal of his party. As far as we are aware he meets with his colleagues in government. Has he not drunk tea with the president at State House? I think we have seen him with the president in newspapers. The problem with some of our people is that they rush to the SADC over small issues."
Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai's spokesperson, also denied Ncube was being excluded. He said Ncube "meets with the prime minister and Mugabe as the political leadership of their respective political parties".
Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai also meets with Mugabe and Mutambara separately because they are leaders of the government.
"There is a huge difference. I am not aware of an incident or occasion when Ncube has been deliberately excluded in meetings of principals when they meet as the political leadership," he said.
In his letter to Kikwete, Ncube also charges that Mugabe and Tsvangirai set the referendum date on the new Constitution without consulting him, and picked the chairs of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission without discussing the issue with him or his party.
Ncube added that Mugabe and Tsvangirai appeared to have agreed that the elections would be held either in June or July this year — a decision he has not been party to.
He said his formation of the MDC does not believe it is feasible to hold a credible election in June or July owing not only to the legal requirements under the new Constitution and the Electoral Act, but also to the issues that are yet to be implemented as agreed upon under the Election Roadmap, including negotiating and enacting amendments to the Electoral Act to align it with the new Constitution.
Ncube said "no one can claim to know how long this process (of amending the Electoral Act)" will take, though "as long ago as January 2013 we decided that the negotiators should start negotiating those amendments".
Appealing to the SADC to intervene, Ncube said his party was concerned that the unilateral attempts to fix an election date without consulting his formation would inevitably lead to a disputed election outcome.