MDC-T president Douglas Mwonzora says he will not join the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), saying he did not participate in the 2018 presidential elections and the constitutive document on POLAD automatically disqualifies him on that basis.
POLAD is a dialogue platform that was launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in May 2019 following calls for the need for dialogue with the opposition to find solutions for the country’s problems. It comprises presidential candidates in the 2018 elections, but Mnangagwa this Friday hinted that any willing opposition leader could be allowed in the grouping.
But speaking in an interview with Studio 7’s Thomas Chiripasi on Saturday, Mwonzora’s spokesperson Llyod Damba said the POLAD constitutive document does not allow the MDC-T leader to be part of the forum as he did not participate in the 2018 presidential elections.
Mnangagwa said since Mwonzora is now the official leader of the opposition in Parliament, he could join the dialogue platform. He said this on Friday as he handed over 19 Isuzu D-Max vehicles to POLAD principals at State House that he had promised them.
“We are not going to POLAD because the POLAD constitutive document defines a political actor as a contestant in the 2018 presidential elections,” Damba said.
“So the document disqualifies Mwonzora from participating in POLAD as he is not a political actor as defined by the constitutive document. The second issue is that even if Mnangagwa resigns today and [Vice President Constantino] Chiwenga or another ZANU PF official takes over, they are also disqualified from participating in POLAD meetings because they did not contest in the 2018 presidential elections.”
Damba added that former MDC-T acting president Thokozani Khupe cannot be part of POLAD anymore even though she contested in the 2018 presidential elections saying the party’s Standing Committee has the final say on whether she returns to POLAD.
Meanwhile, ZANU PF director for Information and Publicity Tafadzwa Mugwadi told Studio 7 that Mwonzora is free not to join if he so wishes. Mugwadi said joining the POLAD was not a compulsory matter and different political parties have different strategies and choices.
Main opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, APA leader Dr Nkosana Moyo are among the leaders that have spurned the POLAD. Chamisa insists he won the 2018 presidential elections and was rigged, despite failing to prove he claims in court.