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By Mutsa Makuvaza
OPPOSITION MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora has been invited to join the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), a coalition of politicians who participated in the 2018 presidential election, even though Mwonzora did not contest the elections even for Parliament.
President Mnangagwa yesterday said since Mwonzora was now the official leader of the opposition in Parliament, he could be fitted into POLAD despite the fact he wasn’t a Presidential candidate in 2018.
Mnangagwa said this at State House yesterday while handing over 19 Isuzu D-Max vehicles that he promised principals of POLAD. Mnangagwa said the vehicles were meant for the Polad leaders to seamlessly implement national programmes.
He said he met Mwonzora in June in line with protocols that the leader of the opposition should meet with the President.
“I met MDC-T leader Mr Douglas Mwonzora, who is the leader of the MDC-T. I was informed by the Speaker of Parliament that he is now the official leader of the opposition in Parliament.
“In terms of the protocols, the leader of the opposition has to meet the President. In the process, I said to him he is free to join POLAD although POLAD is for politicians who participated in the 2018 Presidential elections.
“I thought you will allow him as a leader of a political party.”
Efforts to get a comment from Mwonzora’s spokesperson Lloyd Dumba were fruitless last night. Mwonzora is on record saying he preferred a wider dialogue platform encompassing not just politicians but the church, business community and civic leaders, among others.
Mwonzora was under the rival MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa and was appointed into the Senate, before breaking away with others to the MDC-T. Following a court ruling which declared Chamisa’s ascendancy illegitimate, the MDC-T recalled scores of elected MDC Alliance legislators and Mwonzora became the official leader of the opposition in Parliament after winning his party’s extraordinary congress in December 2020.
Some contestants in the 2018 harmonised polls have declined to join POLAD, insisting they wish to be engaged individually. These include Nelson Chamisa. □