THE Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) has scoffed at people’s favourite opposition leader Mr Nelson Chamisa’s claims that former South African President Thabo Mbeki was failing to communicate with President Mnangagwa to facilitate dialogue between the ruling Zanu-PF and his party.
Speaking at a press briefing in Bulawayo last week, Polad said Mr Chamisa was not the former president’s spokesperson.
The political grouping also said it would be meeting Mr Mbeki in the next two weeks as it continues its regional and international re-engagement drive.
Mr Chamisa told the Bulawayo Press Club earlier last week that Mr Mbeki had told him that President Mnangagwa was neither taking nor returning his calls.
Polad thematic sub-committee chairperson of international relations and re-engagement, Mr Kwanele Hlabangana, said they were not going to be distracted by the opposition leader’s misleading statements.
“I do not think President Mbeki suddenly has a new spokesperson in the form of Chamisa. As far as we are concerned, dialogue is moving smoothly actually. I can tell you that in the coming two weeks as Polad we will be meeting with President Mbeki, so I wonder what Chamisa is talking about,” he said.
“Further, we believe there is a misguided notion that dialogue is about individuals —that is (between) President Mnangagwa and Chamisa — which is not true. It is about political organisations . . .”
Mr Hlabangana also described allegations that Polad had already squandered US$5 million on international trips as “hot air”.
“As we engage, we will be meeting a number of stakeholders in the diplomatic community. Interestingly, I hear in the media that we are globetrotting and spending US$5 million, let me assure you that is hot air, we have not even taken a single trip outside Zimbabwe.
“The only engagements we have done so far were with the local diplomatic community here in Harare. So far we have met with the US ambassador, His Excellency Brian Nichols; we have met also with the British ambassador (Melanie Robinson), we have met with the EU ambassador (Timo Olkkonen) and we also had a discussion with UNDP,” he said.
Polad, he added, was not an extension of Government. “Polad is not there to rubber stamp everything being done by the Government, we raise our concerns, we make our recommendations, we urge Government to do certain things because the whole idea is to have Zimbabwe rejoin the family of nations.”
Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba on Friday also dismissed Mr Chamisa’s claims.
“I don’t know what he was referring to, he is not a member of the Mbeki house as far as I know or is he a member of the Mnangagwa household, so he wouldn’t know what goes on between the two of them.
“In reality, the two met briefly on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa and had a bit of a chat and I can assure you that the President of Zimbabwe, out of courtesy, updated the former president of South Africa on the developments in the country,” Mr Charamba said.