FORMER deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has made an unceremonious exit from the grand political stage. Mutambara went into political oblivion in the run-up to of the 31 July harmonised elections and he is still hibernating from the political radar.
Ever since the expiry of the unity government last year, Mutambara has gone quiet. The robotics professor should never have been in politics in the first place if he did not have the stamina to last the distance.
Some people believe he was more of a political accident as he has the brains, but he was victim of irrelevance. 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.
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.
Many people were expecting a robotics professor to be given a ministerial position in the Zanu PF-led government as a reward for being loyal to Mugabe during the tenure of the shaky coalition government during which Mutambara sided with Mugabe in times of disagreements with Tsvangirai.