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Zimbabwe govt has a constitutional obligation to fund political parties

by Staff reporter
04 Aug 2021 at 06:35hrs | Views
THE Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) members still want to be pampered more by government after they said they would campaign for more vehicles and accessories to enable them to move across the country to popularise their agenda.

Their latest demands show that they now want Polad to be a permanent platform.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week handed over brand new Isuzu vehicles to 19 Polad principals, among others.

This drew the ire of citizens, who felt that rewarding 2018 presidential election losers was tantamount to abuse of public resources at a time when the country was facing serious economic challenges.

In defending the vehicles yesterday, one of the Polad principals and National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Lovemore Madhuku, said the platform was there to stay, adding that all vehicle recipients had a constitutional right to be funded by the State.

"We fully embrace that, and we thank President Mnangagwa and the government. The vehicles are useful to us and we will use those vehicles to build our parties," he said.

Brandishing the country's Constitution, Madhuku said government had a constitutional obligation to fund political parties.

"We believe in Polad, it is good for the country and it will be permanent, that is our philosophy. Unless there is a referendum to say Polad must not receive the vehicles, we will not listen to the critics. We will actually be campaigning for more vehicles for our party because we feel it's not enough because it will be used by the President. We would expect at least three vehicles as it is the only way to get our party known," he said, adding that for Zimbabwe to progress, government should work with losing political parties.

Polad members have also received diplomatic passports, and have been promised farms, courtesy of government.

Madhuku said Polad was doing a lot and had come up with a draft Bill on electoral reforms. He said the vehicles were not personal, but were meant for party political activities.

"It's like government is giving us the right to use their buildings for meetings, for example, we met at State House."

The NCA leader said Polad members had been using their personal vehicles since February 2019, resulting in their cars breaking down.

"It is a place where we fight. We have lost many battles, but we still believe in Polad," he said, adding that as per government policy, Polad members would own the vehicles after three years.

Madhuku added that the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance might have garnered huge numbers during the 2018 elections, but that counted for nothing as the party no longer had representation in Parliament and councils after the recalls.

"Which one are you saying is the biggest opposition party? They have no MPs at the moment. Point to me which MP is Chamisa's MP," Madhuku queried.

In response, MDC Alliance secretary for international relations Gladys Hlatywayo said: "With all due respect, the Polad people are no different from the roving bandits, who are milking the country dry. The question they are failing to answer is under which law or Constitutional provision they are benefiting from taxpayers' money. This is pure theft."

Source - newsday

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