‘Mwonzora free to join Polad’ President Mnangagwa hands over one of the 19 Isuzu D Max vehicles to Professor Lovemore Madhuku, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader and representative in the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) at State House, Harare, yesterday. - Picture: Believe Nyakudjara

Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday said MDC-T leader Mr Douglas Mwonzora was free to join the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) if he wishes.

He said this at State House yesterday while handing over 19 Isuzu D-Max vehicles that he promised principals of Polad so that they seamlessly implement national programmes.

The President said he met Mr Mwonzora, in line with protocols that the leader of the opposition should meet with the President, and invited him to join Polad if he wants. 

“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 principals who participated in the 2018 Presidential elections. 

“I thought you will allow him as a leader of a political party.” 

Polad is a grouping of politicians who contested the 2018 presidential elections, that was set up to collectively discuss ways of prospering the country, at the same time indicating the oneness that exists among Zimbabweans despite different political parties. 

Some contestants in the 2018 harmonised polls have declined to join Polad, insisting they wish to be engaged individually.

Yesterday, President Mnangagwa honoured his pledge of providing vehicles to all Polad members so that they seamlessly implement national programmes.

The vehicles are branded with Polad stickers.

“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,” he said.

The principals are expected to service and maintain the vehicles as well as fuelling them since there is no budget for that, said the President.

He then briefed Polad members about the Government’s commitment to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Zimbabwe had set aside US$100 million to procure Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate 60 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity.

Said President Mnangagwa: “The pandemic has been a serious challenge to the Government but we did some programmes and projects in the country and raised US$100 million and out of that we have since spent US$93 million and we have acquired 12 million doses. 

“So far we have something like 6 million doses in the country. We are still doing our best to acquire more (vaccines) beyond the 12 million to at least 20 million.”

Government plans to intensify the vaccination drive across the country.

President Mnangagwa said statistics show that those who have been vaccinated don’t succumb easily to the pandemic. 

“We want to vaccinate as many of our citizens as possible and fortunately we are receiving cooperation from China, India and the Russian Federation. 

“We have been informed that we are going to receive some allocation from the African Union. We paid US$7 million with the AU Centre. We are likely to have some vaccines. This is outside the 20 million (I spoke about).

“It will be a new vaccine, Johnson & Johnson. That’s the one they are offering and we have paid for that,” he said.

The Government, President Mnangagwa said, will do its best to look after its people and ensure the vaccination programme is carried out fairly.

He added that every Zimbabwean, those in the Diaspora and those at home will get the vaccine for free.

President Mnangagwa said other people are coming from outside to get the vaccine.

“We have seen people flying in at Victoria Falls Airport and Robert Mugabe International Airport, they came from South Africa in particular and some from the United Kingdom to come and get vaccinated but they pay a small fee. 

“If they are Zimbabweans, they come in and get vaccinated for free and go back,” he said. 

Polad spokesperson Mr Nesbert Mtengezanwa commended President Mnangagwa for his efforts in leading Zimbabwe to new heights of stability and success. 

“Your Excellency, we are ready as ever before to work in unison with you in the pursuit and realisation of Vision 2030 for Zimbabwe. The occasion that has brought us here today (yesterday) is of great meaning and of immeasurable importance to Polad. 

“We are here at your invitation to handover to us the vehicles you promised last year. Truly, we admit and acknowledge this gesture of giving vehicles for use by Polad in its missions,” said Mr Mtengezanwa.

Polad members expressed satisfaction with President Mnangagwa’s commitment in fighting Covid-19 and spearheading economic growth.

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