The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has commended the good work being done by Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD). The platform enables Political Stakeholders to engage for the good of the country, and can be emulated by other SADC Member States, said the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
Dr Tax was speaking during a virtual discussion with the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) of the Republic of Zimbabwe on 24 May 2021. POLAD is a platform for political parties that fielded presidential candidates in the 2018 harmonised elections and was launched in May 2019 to contribute to social, economic and political progress.
Speaking on behalf of POLAD, Mr. Kwanele Hlabangana, the Rapporteur of the POLAD International Relations and Reengagement Committee and president of the Republican Party of Zimbabwe, expressed gratitude to H.E. Dr Tax for heeding the call to engage POLAD.
Mr Hlabangana outlined the mission and objectives of POLAD, pointing out that these included the vision of a Zimbabwe that is united, peaceful, prosperous, politically and socially inclusive in its diversity. POLAD seeks to create a vibrant and sustainable platform for national dialogue anchored on effective solutions to achieving unity, equality, non-discrimination, peace, tolerance, economic growth and a culture for constitutionalism for present and future generations.
He further indicated that POLAD seeks to influence Government policy towards economic empowerment and poverty reduction; promote inclusivity and participation of youth, women, the vulnerable and marginalised in the dialogue process; and to lobby for the unconditional lifting of economic sanctions and push for international re-engagement.
Mr Hlabangana said, as is consistent with the objectives of SADC, the importance of political peace and stability not only in Zimbabwe, but in the Region as a whole cannot be over emphasised and thus POLAD prides itself as an Afrocentric political approach to finding home-grown political solutions and in achieving this much desired political stability.
Representative of POLAD also appreciated the position adopted by the SADC Heads of State in August 2019 to declare the 25th of October as the Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Day in solidarity with the Region's call for the unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. "We are elated Your Excellency, on the position that even yourself, you have clearly, openly and unashamedly expressed on the matter being fully knowledgeable as the Head of the SADC Secretariat, that the mission of promotion of equitable and sustainable growth and development, attainment of political stability and peace, regional integration, free trade and the industrial strategy of SADC will be more difficult to attain as long as one of the Member States is affected by sanctions," said Hlabangana.
He said POLAD was fully aware of the part that politicians and governments must play in creating an enabling environment especially for the private sector to be a key driver of regional integration and economic growth. POLAD has therefore committed itself to continue to engage the Government of Zimbabwe robustly and to attend to matters that might be an impediment to the creation of such an environment by making contributions and influencing policy formation and the direction which government may take.
Dr Tax reaffirmed that SADC continues to stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, and remains seized with the decision of 39th SADC Summit, calling for the unconditional lifting of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. She also encouraged political parties that fielded presidential candidates in the 2018 harmonised elections, that are yet to join POLAD to consider doing so, and participate in the dialogue for the good of Zimbabwe.
The Executive Secretary requested POLAD to continue engaging with SADC and provide updates. She also called upon national, regional, continental, and international Stakeholders to support the work done by POLAD with a view to bringing about political, social and economic stability in Zimbabwe, a SADC Member State.