By Tapiwa Svondo
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has no intentions yet to disband the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) platform, dismissed as a group of sycophants by the main opposition.
In an interview with Zimstar News Thursday, presidential spokesperson George Charamba said POLAD was still relevant to the national cause.
Mnangagwa formed the political grouping after he came under pressure at home and outside to seek dialogue with opponents following disputed elections in 2018.
POLAD, shunned by main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, has been described by observers as inconsequential as it comprised only Mnangagwa and a group of losing presidential candidates with no grassroots support.
The said political actors are largely seen as more at ease with hobnobbing with Zimbabwe’s number than being dependable figures with gravitas, collectively or otherwise, to rescue a hurting nation from the depths of a drawn-out economic and political crisis.
For their loyalty, political leaders in POLAD have been pampered with gifts, among them 19 Isuzu D-Max vehicles, by Mnangagwa in what has been described as an unhelpful display of extravagance by a man entrusted with taxpayers’ money.
The country has since had fresh elections quite recently, ushering in a new set of opposition losing candidates who could as well be yearning to join the gravy train.
Charamba said Mnangagwa was keen to maintain POLAD, citing its assumed positive impact on Zimbabwe.
“The president said in public he is not going to abolish POLAD; it has served Zimbabwe well and he intends to reinforce it,” Charamba said.
However, Charamba denied Mnangagwa was the sole authority behind the political grouping insisting the president does not chair POLAD.
“POLAD was not being chaired by the president rather; the president would participate as a participant of the 2018 elections alongside those who were candidates.”
Charamba could not readily state if Mnangagwa was planning to drop politicians who did not participate in the 2023 elections in place of those who did.
He was evasive when asked if Mnangagwa was receptive to calls by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
“Where was the proposal declared to and sent to?” said Charamba.
Chamisa has called for a national dialogue involving the country’s political leadership, the broader civil society and church leaders in efforts to remedy Zimbabwe’s endless political crisis.