via Where is Mutambara? | The Financial Gazette – Zimbabwe News by Ray Ndlovu 22 Jan 2014
FORMER deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has made an unceremonious exit from the grand political stage, quietly slipping into the shadows.
Ever since the expiry of the unity government last year, Mutambara has gone quiet, amid indications that only his closest friends and relatives know about his whereabouts.
Analysts said the garrulous robotics professor should never have been in politics in the first place if he did not have the stamina to last the distance.
“He was more of a political accident…he has the brains, but he was victim of irrelevance,” said Dumisani Nkomo, a political analyst.
Others say Mutambara was an “opportunist” and this has been exposed by his lack of relevance in the political scheme of things in the aftermath of last year’s elections.
In contrast, other political players are fighting to remain relevant after their heavy loss in the July 31, 2013 elections.
Leaders of the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations – Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube – have been bravely facing tough questions from their constituents over their embarrassing defeat in the national elections, without opting for the easy way out, which is to hide from their people.
Ncube and Tsvangirai are also out to mobilise support in order to forestall attempts to kick them from their positions.
Mmeli Dube, a political commentator, sees Mutambara as young enough to be able to re-launch another attempt to lead the country.
“He thought that ZANU-PF would easily be dislodged and once he realised that it was much harder than he thought, he resorted to singing for his supper in ZANU-PF and…that failed too,” observed Dube.
Mutambara, a former student leader, stepped onto the political stage in the aftermath of the MDC’s split in 2005 and took up the leadership of the smaller formation of the labour-backed party, now led by Ncube.
Mutambara had to be headhunted to lead and “sanitise” the splinter group, which was being viewed suspiciously through tribal lenses.
In 2009, he rose to take up the deputy premiership as one of the signatories to the power-sharing agreement that took the country to last year’s elections.
His time in the inclusive government was however, punctuated by controversy.
After being ousted from the helm of the MDC at a party congress, Mutambara refused to recognise the outcome of the congress by taking his case to the courts.
He remained in government after the court processes dragged on until the expiry of the inclusive government last year.
Throughout the lifespan of the unity government, President Robert Mugabe was accused of shielding Mutambara from being stripped of power.
The ZANU-PF leader continued to recognise him as a principal despite increased pressure from the courts and regional bodies to strip him of the position.
Mutambara also ga-ined the reputation of lending support to ZANU-PF’s positions in the unity government, fuelling speculation that he had become a reluctant ally of President Mugabe’s party.
It was, however, clear during Mutambara’s time in the coalition that he was without any political party under his leadership.
Although a handful of rebels opposed to Ncube’s leadership of the MDC coalesced around him, with no resources and no political party at their disposal, it was a matter of postponing the inevitable – the political demise of the once vibrant student leader.
Asked this week about the whereabouts of Mutambara, an official in the MDC had this to say: “We don’t know; we donated him to ZANU-PF a long time ago.”