The Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) secretariat has claimed it is overwhelmed by sheer volumes of applications from unknown parties requesting to join the platform.
The alleged applications come immediately after President Emmerson Mnangagwa handed over 19 brand new vehicles to POLAD principals, a move that has attracted criticism from some quarters.
Critics feel that the government’s move to award cars to POLAD members was meant to lure more members to the platform and to them into being “submissive” to the government.
POLAD head of secretariat Virginia Mabhiza said most of the applications are from political parties that did not field presidential candidates during the 2018 polls.
Ever since the issuing of vehicles to POLAD principals, I have been overwhelmed by an influx of requests and applications of political parties requesting to join POLAD. Some of the political parties are not even known or registered. I’m overwhelmed right now.
If I just flip my (email) page right now, there are about eight applications. There are more than these that have come forward since the issue of vehicles came out.
Mabhiza singled out LEAD president Linda Masarira as one of the political leaders who have applied to join POLAD long before the donation of vehicles.
In a letter to Mabhiza, The African Democrats (TAD), one of the several opposition parties that participated in the 2018 polls but did not field a presidential candidate, has formally requested to join POLAD.
TAD president Marco Machona who is based in South Africa confirmed the development. Reads a letter recently written by Machona to Mabhiza:
We intend to join POLAD and explore the opportunities to learn, to also share our own ideas, and be catalysts in progressive politics and development in our country.
We would like your assistance in directing our organisation on how it can be part of POLAD.
Machona said POLAD should open its doors to all political parties that did not field presidential parties during the previous election.
Mabhiza confirmed that POLAD’s code of conduct only limits participants to the 2018 losing presidential candidates.
POLAD was formed to address the humanitarian, economic and political crises in the country which some analysts believed was being worsened by the deadlock between ZANU OF and the MDC Alliance.
The platform has also been pushing the engagement and re-engagement agenda the government embarked on in 2017.
Several opposition parties have pulled out of POLAD following its formation in May 2019 while others such as the MDC Alliance, led by Nelson Chamisa, never joined.