PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday accused Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa of being dishonest following the minister’s claims that the PM had failed to honour his pledge to push for the release of $21 million for voter education.
Report by Everson Mushava Chief Reporter
Chinamasa told State media last week that Tsvangirai had made the pledge during a meeting with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) officials last month.
The Zanu PF minister blamed delays in the launch of a voter education and registration blitz that was scheduled to start last week on the MDC-T leader.
But Tsvangirai’s spokesperson William Bango yesterday told NewsDay that money could not be released to either Zec or the Registrar-General (RG)’s Office because no budget had been approved.
He accused Chinamasa of reducing the PM to an “accounting officer”.
“The PM is just an executive facilitator,” Bango said.
“He is not an accounting officer and by accusing him that he failed to give Zec money, Minister Chinamasa is belittling the PM to an accounting officer, which is nonsensical.”
Bango said Tsvangirai never promised to release money, but both Zec and the RG’s Office had made budget proposals.
Zec and the RG’s Office, Bango said, were asked to give a budget breakdown for approval which was submitted on January 2.
“The budget proposals were received by the PM after his December break. In fact, the proposals are dated January 2 while on December 12, Zec demanded a budget for its commissioners to be working full-time for eight months,” he said.
“Why is Chinamasa trying to imply that the PM is not responsible?
“How does that happen that the PM can just dish money from his pocket?
“Government is not run like that.
“Treasury can only release money after the budgets are approved in the next meeting scheduled for Thursday (tomorrow).
“The Thursday meeting will bring together the PM, Finance minister Tendai Biti, the Home Affairs co- ministers (Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone) and Chinamasa, who is in charge of Zec.”
Chinamasa claimed Tsvangiria had undertaken to see to it that money was released to Zec to conduct publicity programmes and carry out countrywide mobile voter registration and education.
“The PM assured us that he would engage Finance minister Tendai Biti to make the funds available to Zec, but up to now there is no single cent availed to the electoral body, even for publicity purposes,” he claimed.
“Everyone was banking on the authority of the Prime Minister, as one of the Principals, to make the Ministry of Finance release the funds, but there is nothing up to date.”
But Bango said: “The PM is not comfortable with Chinamasa’s utterances.
“PM Tsvangirai is simply a political facilitator when things are at the early stages.”
Zec has already indicated that it needs need $107 million for elections and US$85 million for the referendum on the new constitution.
The RG’s Office would also need money for voter registration and facilitating the processing of national identity cards for people to register as voters.
Zec and Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede will be part of tomorrow’s meeting with Tsvangirai to try to push the electoral process forward.