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By Robert Tapfumaneyi
MDC has come out guns blazing after leaders of the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) travelled to the Midlands town of Kwekwe and met President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his farm.
MDC national spokesperson, Daniel Molokole said the visit to Mnangagwa’s Sherwood Farm confirmed its long held suspicions that POLAD was an extension of Zanu PF.
POLAD is a loose grouping of 2018 presidential candidates formed by Mnangagwa last year as pressure mounted on the under-fire national leader to close ranks with his political rivals with hopes to end the country’s myriad crises.
MDC leader and losing candidate in last year’s election, Nelson Chamisa decided not to be part of the platform. He is also challenging the results of the presidential election claiming the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) rigged the plebiscite on behalf of Mnangagwa.
“The holding of the event at ED’s (Mnangagwa) farm and outside government spaces, emphasises the fact that the MDC has always raised concerning that the grouping is compromised,” Molokele told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview Sunday.
He said the MDC had long viewed POLAD as an extension of Mnangagwa’s political office and its members were nothing but Zanu PF activists.
“As you may be aware, one of them recently joined Zanu PF and not only that but Zanu PF leadership boasted that more of them would be joining Zanu PF. So we can’t be part of a patronage system,” the MDC official said.
Brian Mteki who contested as an independent presidential candidate recently joined Zanu PF saying the ‘new dispensation’ under President Mnangagwa had reformed compared to the previous regime of the late President Robert Mugabe.
“For the MDC, it’s like there is no difference between POLAD and Zanu PF. After the visit to Mnangagwa’s farm, the MDC feels vindicated after we decided to boycott POLAD,” Molokele added.
“What we really need in the country is a much more broader all-inclusive platform for national dialogue that is not convened by Zanu PF or by ED’s delegates but where ED is one of the stakeholders, not a convener.”
“And we want someone who is a neutral convener, a neutral facilitator, preferably someone international to increase the impartiality and neutrality of the process.”
According to Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba, POLAD members requested for a meeting with Mnangagwa at his Kwekwe farm where the environment was ‘relaxed’.
“It was POLAD members who requested for a meeting in a relaxed environment. So there will be around one and a half hours of business and there will be a tour of the farm,” Charamba had said earlier.