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What’s really behind Zimbabwe’s POLAD scheme: Power or democracy?

By Michelle Chifamba
Posted on Friday, 27 August 2021 17:10

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa arrives to officially open a new parliament session at Parliament Building in Harare, Zimbabwe, October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa caused a stir after he handed over 19 brand new vehicles - worth an estimated $60,000 each - to his political opponents, losing presidential aspirants in the July 2018 elections that sealed his presidency in a disputed election.

Mnangagwa made the move, in early August, under the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) that he created in 2019. However, many question where the money to fund such extravagant gifts has come from and whether it’s really for the benefit of democracy.