PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s move to give luxury vehicles to members of the controversial Political Actors’ Dialogue (Polad) is part of an elaborate plan to delay elections while consolidating his stranglehold on Zanu-PF, it has been revealed.
Mnangagwa on Friday handed over 19 Isuzu D-Max twin cab trucks to Polad members at an event in Harare.
Sixteen of the cars were given to Polad “principals” and three to the secretariat, which is the Office of the President and Justice ministry.
He said the Polad members would use the cars for political work and also for their party activities.
Polad insiders have told this publication that the “political work” will include selling the idea of postponing by-elections or even the 2023 elections indefinitely.
MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora is already pushing through Parliament for the indefinite postponement of by-elections that were due last year citing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mnangagwa indicated on Friday that Mwonzora had been invited to join Polad even though he was not a presidential candidate in the 2018 elections, a prerequisite for joining the platform.
The two held a private meeting at State House in June where they discussed the indefinite suspension of elections, among other things.
Polad members said Mnangagwa and Mwonzora were in agreement about delaying elections for self-preservation purposes.
The Zanu-PF leader is said to be keen on delaying the polls to contain his deputy Constantino Chiwenga while the MDC-T leader wants more time to build his party.
There are reports of a growing faction in Zanu-PF that wants Chiwenga to challenge Mnangagwa in the 2023 elections and delaying the polls through potential constitutional amendments that would be supported by MDC-T to ensure their plan does not succeed, the Polad insiders said.
“It is now clear, Mwonzora’s request for suspension of by-elections is Mnangagwa’s plan,” a Polad source said.
“Mnangagwa is against both the by-elections and 2023 elections. He wants to extend his rule uninterrupted through some working arrangement with the Polad members.”
The Polad member said they were being promised positions in government as pay back for supporting the election delays.
“Mwonzora will join Polad and use his presence in Parliament to propose amendments to the constitution.
“He will whip his MPs to support and with Zanu-PF holding the majority, the amendments will pass,” the Polad insider added.
“This will have to happen before September (next month) when Mnangagwa is expected to visit Britain.
“This will help him convince the world that he likes peace and he has joined with other political parties for the sake of peace.”
Polad members, who include Lovemore Madhuku, that received cars from Mnangagwa, will be despatched to provinces to preach peace and unity.
Madhuku yesterday took to Twitter to defend the government’s decision to give them cars. He said he would use the car to build his NCA party, which did not win a single seat in the last elections.
“The vehicle is from the government of Zimbabwe,” Madhuku tweeted.
“I am a political leader in Zimbabwe. I lead a party called NCA.
“The NCA believes in the Polad philosophy. I believe in the Polad philosophy. The vehicle will help me to spread the Polad approach and build the NCA.”
Mwonzora’s spokesperson Lloyd Damba dismissed claims that his boss was working with Mnangagwa to postpone elections.
Damba said Morgen Komichi, who started the debate in Parliament on the indefinite postponement of elections, presented an MDC-T position.
“Komichi is national chairman; he is simply stating the party position that elections under this environment will not be feasible,” he said.
“We will be cry-babies after losing because the environment is not level.”
He insisted that Mwonzora was not going to join Polad. Chiwenga, who doubles as Health minister, first postponed by-elections in December last year citing the outbreak of Covid-19.
– The Standard