By Nompumelelo Sibanda
NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly leader and fringe opposition politician Lovemore Madhuku has defended the move by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to hand over vehicles to leaders in the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD).
Yesterday, President Mnangagwa honoured his pledge of providing vehicles to all POLAD members saying this will ensure they seamlessly implement national programmes. The move drew stinging criticism on social media platforms, with Government accused of splashing scarce financial resources on political gamesmanship while hospitals are under resourced.
POLAD was initiated by Mnangagwa in 2019 for participants in the 2018 presidential elections. The vehicles are branded with POLAD stickers.
The POLAD principals are expected to service and maintain the vehicles as well as fuelling them since there is no budget for that, Mnangagwa said yesterday.
But Madhuku, who is one of the principals to receive the vehicles, justified Mnangagwa’s action saying he will put the vehicle to good use.
“The vehicle is from the Government of Zimbabwe. I am a political leader in Zimbabwe. I lead a party called NCA,” Madhuku said on Twitter while responding to some of the critics.
“The NCA believes in the POLAD philosophy. I believe in the POLAD philosophy. The vehicle will help me to spread the POLAD approach and build the NCA. Wait and see,” he dared.
Madhuku, a constitutional law expert, added: “Further, I operate on the following premise: Zimbabweans must always strive to find each other. For me and the NCA, POLAD provides the best platform so far where different political parties may engage with the Government of the day. We will always need a POLAD.”
Prominent Government critic Hopewell Chin’ono accused Madhuku of enabling Mnangagwa to oppress Zimbabweans.
“I consider Professor Madhuku a brother-friend, but I don’t understand why my brother-friend would happily receive a car from Mnangagwa for doing nothing else than helping Mnangagwa continue to repress us,” said Chin’ono, a journalist.
He added that while POLAD principals were ensconced in getting vehicles and other benefits from Government, hospitals had no medicines and the vulnerable members of society lacked social safety nets.
South Africa-based Zimbabwean entrepreneur, Mutumwa Mawere, suggested that the move was evidence of State capture.
“Political losers being rewarded – what are the legal and constitutional questions that arise from this discretionary use of public power?” Mawere, a former close ally of Mnangagwa queried.
In handing over the cars yesterday, Mnangagwa said he hoped they would be put to good use.
“The vehicles have been made identifiable and make sure it carries the dignity of POLAD. The cars you, are not going to use them as you see it fit, except that it must be for political work or developmental work.
“Down the line, of course the other purpose belongs to Polad, now that they are given to each political party. In terms of regulations in the public sector, after three years we will then review and make sure that they can belong to you,” said Mnangagwa.
Main opposition MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa which claims the 2018 elections were rigged in favour of ZANU PF candidate, Mnangagwa, refused to join POLAD demanding genuine dialogue convened by a foreign convener.
The party also demanded that Mnangagwa’s legitimacy be on the agenda. On the other hand, Zanu-PF refused to entertain the demands by MDC Alliance outside of POLAD. – Zimbabwe Voice