Revelations of an annual budget of $88 million for the government-controlled Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) are deeply disturbing and outrageous.
It is particularly outrageous as it comes at a time when the government is failing to meet legitimate demands of the country’s grossly underpaid doctors and patients are dying in large numbers as a result of the government-induced industrial action.
A rudimentary calculation demonstrates that the $88 million to be spent on POLAD would go a long way to not only meet the doctors’ demands but also to capacitate struggling healthcare institutions.
The government’s failure to prioritise public health shows gross irresponsibility.
The odious $88 million budget for POLAD vindicates the position that we took from the onset.
We argued as a matter of principle that there was no wisdom in joining a politically compromised process which was designed to co-opt the opposition. We refused to be puppets of a regime that is devoid of legitimacy.
We knew POLAD was part of the regime strategy of co-optation of dissenting voices.
The disgraceful $88 million budget for POLAD is the most visible sign of the ZANU PF regime’s plan to buy the opposition and of the compromised former opposition parties’ willingness to sell their voices for a few pieces of silver.
These individuals masquerading as the opposition have no mandate from the people of Zimbabwe. Having failed to win the hearts of the people, they have shamelessly sold their souls to ZANU PF.
They are not the first to do so in the history of this country.
Back in the late 1970s at the height of the liberation struggles, the Ian Smith regime managed to co-opt a few black leaders.
Those men who sold their souls were duly punished by history as the people emphatically rejected them at the first democratic elections in 1980.
The people knew they had been used by the colonial regime to create a facade of change and progress.
Now, as 40 years ago, the people will not be fooled by those who have decided to abandon the cause of genuine democracy by working hand in glove with the monstrous regime.
History has plenty of examples of men and women who, out of selfishness and greed, have abandoned the people and chosen to line their pockets and fill their stomachs.
The shocking $88 million budget for POLAD shows the pursuit of luxury by these people who falsely purport to be representing the people.
They want to travel the world and to spent time at luxury hotels and to be given lavish perks, all of it at taxpayers’ expense.
The money to be used to fund POLAD jamborees is public funds – money that could be deployed to public services that are woefully inadequate.
Right now the country is facing severe food shortages.
It is not just because of drought that we have little food.
It is also because of poor management of public resources and instead of taking corrective measures, the government is spending money on its puppet shows such as POLAD.
POLAD has already shown itself to be a grouping of ZANU PF allies and cheerleaders, ready and willing to be enablers to the regime.
Their purpose is to hoodwink the world into believing that there is some dialogue taking place. But the antics of individuals who are devoid of political capital have since been exposed by this egregious budget.
There is no genuine dialogue taking in place under POLAD that will unlock the challenges that the country is facing.
It’s not a problem for individuals to be over-ambitious but to do so at taxpayers’ expense is contemptible.
There is absolutely no need to spend $88 million of taxpayers’ money on inflated egos of men and women who mistake themselves for representatives of the people when they were emphatically rejected.
The country has bigger problems that need urgent attention and assistance rather than waste money buying the loyalty and patronage of failed politicians.
MDC Alliance Information Department