By A Correspondent- The Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) platform set up by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2018 yesterday exposed a serious rift in the group over whether the country should postpone the 2023 elections.
Some of its members have also poured cold water on calls by the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora to delay the polls.
This comes after recent reports that Mwonzora approached Mnangagwa and asked him to postpone the harmonised 2023 elections on the premise that they would be costly and divisive.
Some Polad members yesterday told NewsDay that some members had a broader plan to have the elections postponed and to push Mnangagwa to incorporate them in government and Parliament.
President of the little known Republican Party of Zimbabwe, Kwanele Hlabangana, who is also a member of Polad, said such calls were dangerous and should not be entertained.
“Those people that want the 2023 elections postponed are very dangerous because elections in any country are a constitutional matter, and we don’t hold elections based on the wishes of people. We hold elections because we follow the Constitution. I don’t see any argument or debate around elections because we have a Constitution in this country,” Hlabangana said.
“What sort of a country will we be running if we just decide that there are no elections? Polad cannot have a different position to the constitutional position. The only thing we are doing as Polad is we are pushing for electoral reforms. We believe elections should not be disputed like the situation we had in 2018. We want to have free and fair elections where the winners win and we don’t want excuses. We are working on all reforms, security reforms and everything to do with the Constitution,” he said.
But other Polad members said elections were an exercise that would cost the country a lot and were divisive, hence the need to postpone them and appeal to Mnangagwa to incorporate them into government and Parliament.
“That is a more progressive move that we are pushing (Polad). We cannot be perpetually in election mode and with what we have achieved in Polad, we are in the right direction, and so that should proceed,” a Polad member, who preferred not to be named, said.
Last week, National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku said Polad was in Zimbabwe to stay as a permanent body. He said it was an important platform to push for electoral reforms.
Polad has been criticised as a Zanu PF and Mnangagwa project meant to hoodwink the international community into believing that there is unity in the country.
The grouping consists of political parties and individuals who contested and dismally lost in the July 2018 elections. Some 19 Polad principals last week received brand new vehicles from Mnangagwa.
They were also pampered with diplomatic passports, and are currently waiting to be allocated farms by government.