Yesterday’s POLAD executive principals meeting was rocked with power struggles, heated arguments and skulduggery as principals of other parties cried foul over MDC-T’s dominance in leadership roles in POLAD sub-committees.
Thokozani Khupe, the MDC-T President who is the chairperson of the international re-engagement team, was under attack from most of the principals as they challenged and “harassed” her party members who occupy most of the chairmanship or deputy positions including as rapporteurs in nearly every committee in POLAD.
She was also interrogated on why her committee spent three weeks at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Harare, purporting to be engaging with Ambassadors and heads of foreign missions accredited to Zimbabwe, but no records of what came out of the engagements could be provided by the Khupe officials “except for three Ambassadors only.”
Said the source: “The Khupe team indicated that in three weeks, it had managed to meet with the European Union (EU) ambassador Timo Olkkonen, British ambassador Melanie Robinson and American embassy officials. Others felt three meetings in three weeks was a waste of time and resources, as the country is facing an onslaught from many angles including its own citizens angered by lack of a coherent approach in tackling corruption.
“Other principals reiterated that they wanted everything reported to them first as they felt MDC-T is dominating POLAD. She couldn’t have any of it and marched out in tears,” a reliable source within POLAD told Zimbabwe Voice.
The source continued: “A resolution was made to have principals who ran as Presidential candidates in the 2018 elections chairing and deputizing these committees.
“This resolution will affect all members of the principals political parties who were either Chairpersons, deputy chairperson or rapporteurs with MDC-T suffering the heaviest blow as Khalipani Phugeni was chairing the Information and publicity committee, Isabel Mwonzora deputizing the Economics committee and Priscilla Misihairambwi was playing a critical role in the governance and constitutionalism committee.
“Some members of other parties who were in leadership positions were there on merit and could execute the duties in the portfolio committees concerned. An example is Nickson Nyikadzino who was chairing the Monitoring and Evaluation committee which is his area of expertise.”
The removal of competent leaders who are not necessarily Presidents of political parties could jeopardize the operations of POLAD as some of the so called Principals lack clarity and understanding of some of these portfolios, sources say.
A senior MDC-T official, who requested anonymity as they are not cleared to speak on behalf of the dialogue platform, had this to say: “POLAD is a good initiative which might fail to deliver if people want to use power than meritocracy in committees.
“Fixing the country is not a power game and it needs competent people driven by a passion to transform Zimbabwe not to occupy positions without delivering the mandate of POLAD.”
The official added that some of these Principals who were crying for top positions “do not even have O-Levels and do not even understand the gravity of what is required of them in the committees they are crying to lead.”
He added: “What led to today’s impasse could be the love of lavish lifestyles as rumours within POLAD were stating that all Chairpersons, deputy chairpersons and their rapporteurs were going to get diplomatic passports for international trips.
“We can’t seriously exchange competence for luxuries when our country is burning,” the source said.
The infighting among POLAD officials comes as it was reported recently that the POLAD re-engagement sub-committee will be in the US from March 24 to 26, where it will, among other tasks, lobby for the removal of sanctions.
The committee comprises Thokozani Khupe (chairperson), Willard Mugadza (deputy chairperson), Kwanele Hlabangana (rapporteur), Aplonia Munzverengwi (committee member) and Khaliphani Phugeni (spokesperson).
It will also visit South Africa, United Kingdom, and several other European countries. The team has so far met with the European Union (EU) ambassador Timo Olkkonen, British ambassador Melanie Robinson and American embassy officials.
Meanwhile, Khupe’s spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni refused to comment on the incidents.
– Zimbabwe Voice