BY MOSES MATENGA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has been asked to breathe life into an outfit he has been touting as the panacea to Zimbabwe’s intractable political and economic reforms in a telling assessment of his leadership.
According to the latest report produced by the controversial Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) — a platform formed by Mnangagwa and some leaders of fringe opposition parties that took part in the 2018 presidential elections — the initiative has become “lifeless”.
“All I wish for, Your Excellency is to give life to this Polad initiative and to see the manifestation of God in all this,” reads the report by Polad’s monitoring, implementation, learning and evaluation subcommittee dated February 12, 2021, which was addressed to Mnangagwa.
It says Polad’s activities are not visible and proposes a re-think of the strategies. The sub-committee also blames the outbreak for Covid-19 for Polad’s paralysis.
“While it is true that priority should be on saving lives, we also need to see Polad on the ground, there is need to re-strategise, identify our focus areas, and agree on our method of working, protocols to follow when engaging with other stakeholders so that our activities would fit into the current situation,” the report added.
“Our journey since the inception of Polad has not been an easy one, Your Excellency.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has been a bottleneck on our progress as Polad.
“Although some of the executive plenary sessions went ahead, implementation of activities of thematic sub-committees was greatly affected.”
The subcommittee pleaded with Mnangagwa to allow Polad to resume its work “so as to execute its mandate so that remedial measures are recommended timeously”.
“As a way forward, Your Excellency, we would recommend that, there is urgent need for committees to be fully functional, and since technology has taken over physical meetings, we recommend that virtual meetings be arranged so as to allow timeous compilation of a Polad comprehensive work plan so as to avoid or minimise duplication of activities,” the report says.
The committee also says a Polad must be given a platform to contribute to economic development in the country.
They are also demanding a weekly slot on ZBC “to increase awareness and visibility of Polad” .
The parties were also dismissive of MDC Alliance demands for separate dialogue with Mnangagwa to push for reforms.
“Those calling for a separate dialogue should swallow their pride and join Polad in accordance with our code of conduct, which you and us appended our signatures to,” the report added.
“Causing confusion is never something we want to accommodate, but moving on the same wavelength and as equal partners is of greater importance.”
Lovemore Madhuku, leader of the National Constitutional Assembly and Polad member, however, downplayed the Polad crisis, saying things were back on track after their recent meeting.
“We now have a plan of action after our meeting recently where we have set out a framework, which we believe would work at the moment,” Madhuku told The Standard.
“I think it will be too much to say there is frustration at the moment.
“We were behind schedule in terms of the kind of things we had set out to do, but certainly we are going to be achieving those ones since we now have a clear programme.”
He added: “The meeting rectified almost everything and we put in place a very detailed programme relating on how we want to achieve especially electoral reforms and political reforms and we set up a special meeting to look at just the proposals.”
MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora did not attend Polad’s inaugural 2021 meeting this month as his party signalled that it wanted more broad-based dialogue.
The international community continues to put pressure on Mnangagwa to start credible dialogue to solve the country’s problems, but the Zanu PF leader insists there will be no talks outside Polad.