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PM questions source of Mugabe funds

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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is under pressure to disclose the source of the $20 million the veteran leader was using to splash out farming inputs ahead of the watershed harmonised elections set for next year amid reports that Zanu PF was using diamond money to sponsor its campaign programmes.

REPORT BY MOSES MATENGA STAFF REPORTER

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over the weekend questioned the source of the $20 million used by Mugabe to buy inputs donated to mainly Zanu PF supporters countrywide, saying the veteran leader should stop acting like a donor and perform like a President.

“Mugabe put $20 million on inputs. First of all, where did he get that money? Secondly, I have never heard of a President who becomes a donor in his country, so what have you been doing? If the inputs are for the country, they should go to the people. The packets have faces of Mugabe, it’s now an election and I want to tell you that when the inputs come, take them, it’s diamond money that is being used,” Tsvangirai told hundreds of his party supporters in Buhera during a memorial service held for victims of politically-motivated violence.

“Stop playing with people’s minds, this is diamond money. We are having problems in Cabinet where (Mines) minister Mpofu says we sold diamonds worth billions of dollars, but where is the money going to? This country is so wealthy only if we had transparency.”

This comes amid reports that Zanu PF has also spent over $14 million on 500 vehicles and $6,5 million on a 5 000-seater conference centre being built in Gweru to host the party’s annual conference early next month.

The projects, being implemented amid revelations that the inclusive government is broke, have raised eyebrows.

Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, in a coalition government since 2009, have traded insults and accusations on the diamond money with the MDC formations raising fears Zanu PF could use the revenue to sponsor its election campaign. But Zanu PF has denied the charges, insisting its campaign resources were being mobilised by its “friends”.

Tsvangirai said the forthcoming elections were not about Mugabe and Zanu PF’s failures, but about what the MDC-T could offer to Zimbabwe. “We only have one last chance to prove that this party is ready to govern. If we miss, some will go to herd cattle.”

On the MDC-T’s candidate selection criteria ahead of the elections, Tsvangirai threatened to axe party officials implicated in vote-buying.

“We don’t want those who buy votes. Let people choose who they want. If I hear reports of vote-buying, I will suspend that person. Some youths are behaving like Zanu PF youths and imposing candidates. Wherever you are getting that, stop that nonsense,” he said.

“In MDC we have a policy to choose councillors and MPs. I want to tell you there won’t be imposition of candidates, we want to start with primary elections where we don’t have MPs.”

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