BY MOSES MATENGA
LEADERS of fringe political parties that are part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s preferred dialogue platform are making extravagant demands such as diplomatic passports and farms as rewards for their role in the initiative, it has emerged.
Mnangagwa set up the Political Actors’ Dialogue (Polad) soon after winning the 2018 presidential elections.
His main rival Nelson Chamisa, who narrowly lost the polls, refused to join Polad saying it was an attempt to divert attention from the real problems facing Zimbabwe.
A report by Polad’s monitoring, implementation, learning and evaluation subcommittee says members of the outfit must be given farms so that they can contribute to the development of Zimbabwe.
“Polad should engage in income-generating projects contributing to economic revival whereby issues touching on the welfare of Polad need to be expedited as they go a long way in making them not only sharing of ideas, but adding to the economic growth in this country through utilising the farms, thereby setting an example to the nation on how agriculture, which is pivotal to the economic growth of the country, has to be done and whilst at the same time we need to increase on awareness and visibility,” the report says
Polad insiders said diplomatic passports had been added to the demands, which Mnangagwa’s government was “actively considering”.
Ordinary Zimbabweans are finding it difficult to access passports with people, who applied for the travel document as far back as 2019 yet to get it.
The Polad members are said to have justified the requests for diplomatic passports and vehicles by saying these would help them discharge their duties.
“There is also an issue of diplomatic passports and vehicles,” said the source.
“We are getting fuel coupons now and there has been an element of discontent from some of us to say they also need to be capacitated.”
The source said the issue of demands by Polad was put through and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Virginia Mabhiza is said to be handling the requests.
Mabhiza wanted to know the source of the story when she was contacted for comment.
“Who gave you that? You end up writing bad things yet the things will be in good faith, but I cannot confirm what you are saying. Neither can I deny it,” she said.
Polad members recently pleaded with Mnangagwa to breathe life into the platform that he touts as the panacea to Zimbabwe’s intractable political and economic challenges.
Chamisa last week insisted that he will not join Polad while repeating his demands for “genuine dialogue”.
The MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora has hinted that it prefers broader dialogue outside Polad after its former leader Thokozani Khupe, an active participant in the Mnangagwa initiative, was ousted in December last year.