Don’t Lose Sleep Over POLAD: Opposition Leader Urges
Leader of the Ideas Party of Democracy (IPD) Herbert Chamuka says Zimbabweans should not lose sleep over the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) , a conglomerate of losing opposition leaders and President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Chamuka whose party is gearing up for the 2023 elections told 263Chat that POLAD members have nothing much to offer to the people and have no support base on the ground hence their influence should be ignored.
This comes after the grouping was handed top of the range vehicles by Mnangagwa last week, raising concerns that he wants to create a one-party state, akin to what his predecessor, the late Robert Mugabe, wanted back in the early 1990s.
“I have my own view towards POLAD. If we look at the majority of the people in POLAD, they don’t have much support on the ground. It’s only one party, ZANU-PF, which has supporters but the rest are there to add numbers.
“When I look at POLAD, I see a ZANUPF alliance where all those leaders also want to be part and parcel of the ruling party. How is it logical that we are just two years away from elections and they are all queueing to receive vehicles from someone whom they should be competing against in 2023?” Chamuka said.
POLAD was established by Mnangagwa in 2018 as a platform to engage with losing presidential election candidates to forge a national dialogue.
However, the leading opposition party, MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa among other few parties, refused to join the grouping citing ethical issues.
There was scepticism that the POLAD grouping would die a futile death but the secretary of the team, Virginia Mabhiza said there are a number of political parties who want to join since the distribution of the cars.
Mabhiza said most of the applications are from political parties that did not field presidential candidates during the 2018 polls.
“Ever since the issuing of vehicles to POLAD principals, I have been overwhelmed by an influx of requests and applications of political parties requesting to join POLAD. Some of the political parties are not even known or registered. I’m overwhelmed right now.
“If I just flip my (email) page right now, there are about eight applications. There are more than these that have come forward since the issue of vehicles came out,” said Mabhiza who is also the secretary in the Justice Ministry.
She, however, said the grouping’s code of conduct only limits participants to the 2018 losing presidential candidates.
“However, in the event that there is an applicant who did not participate in the 2018 polls as the secretariat we table the applications to the POLAD principals who then decide whether to approve or reject the request,” she said.
Chamuka said his party will not be joining POLAD on the basis that they are democratic. He said POLAD is making it difficult for Zimbabwe to engage European countries, which he says, are key to unlocking foreign direct investment.
“If you look at the whole European Union, they are not listening to anyone from POLAD, they see them as people with ZANU-PF membership cards meaning that those from outside POLAD are the ones with an opportunity to have a dialogue with the more powerful countries. So Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa should have a dialogue with these top countries to take Zimbabwe from the economic mud,” he said.