Turmoil as ED Mnangagwa faces resistance within Zanu PF over Polad initiative


PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is reportedly facing resistance from within his Zanu PF party colleagues over his Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) initiative with some bigwigs allegedly viewing the platform as a money-gobbling talk show which does not produce tangible results, NewsDay has learnt.

Mnangagwa created the first Polad after the hotly contested 2018 elections seeking legitimacy after his main rival Nelson Chamisa dismissed the election as rigged although his case fell apart in court.

Mnangagwa pampered political principals, who together garnered less than 3% of the national vote in the 2018 presidential elections, with top-of-the-range Isuzu D Max vehicles and hefty allowances.

Just a month after his second and again disputed election, Mnangagwa invited the losing candidates for a second Polad roundtable as he moved to pacify his critics following the August disputed elections which were widely viewed as not free or fair by both local and international observers.

Writing in his State-controlled newspaper column, Mnangagwa said Polad worked well in his previous administration.

“I intend to reinstate the framework for Political Actors Dialogue, Polad. It served us remarkably well in the last five years, helping us to find each other across the political divide, thus conceiving policies for our nation collectively. To that end, I shall be inviting leaders of all political parties who participated in the just-ended harmonised elections so, together, we refashion the framework in order to make it more responsive and better able to serve the times and our nation,” Mnangagwa said.

“I trust that my invitation will be welcomed by most, if not all, political actors. Party politics must never stand in the way, or make us deaf to the call to work together for the collective good of our people and our nation. Zimbabwe is our country together.”

Nine months into Mnangagwa’s administration Polad is, however, yet to be conceived.

In an interview yesterday, Mnangwa’s spokesperson George Charamba said the President was still committed to the dialogue platform.

“The President has committed to the dialogue platform. He has, however, merely indicated he was not averse to the political dialogue platform and as to when and in what form or shape it takes, becomes his prerogative,” he said.

Sources, who spoke to NewsDay since last week, however, claimed that there were people in Zanu PF who view Polad as a useless platform since the ruling party commanded a huge majority in Parliament.

“Most of the presidential candidates in the last election did not garner significant numbers and they hold no influential political capital, so there is no need to waste taxpayers’ money on the platform,” a senior Zanu PF official said.

However, the source said Mnangagwa had ignored calls to abandon the platform and was continuing with his plans to bring it back.

“He [Mnangagwa] feels the platform is good for political optics and is going ahead with the initiative. He was supposed to meet the other Polad principals just after the independence celebrations, but the problem is that the convener, Polad head of secretariat Virginia Mabhiza is always outside the country.

“Most of the presidential candidates were in Murambinda during Independence [Day] and they are waiting to be told the date to meet the President,” said the source.

Mabhiza yesterday requested questions in writing, but had not responded by the time of going to print.

Meanwhile, observers have said Polad is a useless platform because Mnangagwa always spurns most of the proposals made by other principals.

In 2022, Peter Munyanduri was expelled from Polad after criticising Mnangagwa’s administration.

Presidential candidate Wilbert Mubaiwa recently said if Mnangagwa was serious about Polad, he should amended the Constitution.

“I haven’t thought about joining Polad. I will cross that bridge when I get there. However, I believe that Polad is not serving any purpose because there are no legal statutes backing it,” he said.

However, Polad members in the last Mnangagwa administration argue that they rescued the government from total economic collapse after Mnangagwa, through the Finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe implemented their proposals.

Presidential candidate Trust Chikohora, who was one of the Polad members, said the economic summit which they organised in 2020 proffered solutions for the turning around of Zimbabwe’s suffocating economy.

Chikohora also said Polad’s Currency Indaba held in 2022 also helped to stabilise the country’s now defunct Zimdollar currency. NewsDay.

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