FINANCE minister Tendai Biti has disclosed that government does not have funds for elections despite President Robert Mugabe’s push to have them held by end of next month.
REPORT BY MOSES MATENGA/ESHMAEL MLAMBO
“There is no poll funding at the moment,” Biti said in an interview with NewsDay last night.
“When Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) says it is ready, my understanding of that statement is they are ready to execute a constitutional mandate if they are asked to hold elections on a particular date.
“(Sadc secretary-general Tomaz) Salomao will be going into the region soon talking to heads of state on election funding and I am willing to accompany him on the trip. The region, however, will not fund a flawed process. The United Nations is still willing to fund the election, but they are being frustrated by the chaotic faction of Zanu PF.”
The latest development comes as Sadc leaders remained silent on funding the polls at their just-ended summit in Maputo, while the UN has indicated it was no longer keen to fund Zimbabwean polls over government’s failure to request for the money in time.
Top United Nations Development Programme officials in Harare who declined to be named told NewsDay yesterday that government’s reluctance to meet conditions set by the UN and the parties’ failure to reach consensus over the source of poll funding were the reasons the world body had withheld assistance.
Zec has indicated that it requires about $120 million for polls, but Zanu PF insists the money should be sourced locally, saying foreign funders would push regime change agendas.
On the other hand, the MDC formations want the international community to intervene as government is literally broke.
“Since the disagreements, nothing has transpired,” the source said.
“Usually, we come in if the member state agrees and in the Zimbabwean case, they did not reach a consensus with the need assessment team. The initiative should come from the government and not the UN,” a UN source said.
“Even if government decides to re-engage now, there is no time for us to intervene because it is short notice to provide the funds.
It’s a process and we do not have funds ready in the system to give immediately because we have to prepare necessary things first before releasing funds.”
Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky confirmed that the UN had backed off.
“Regarding the role of the United Nations in the election, the UN is not providing assistance to these elections,” Nesirky said.
“Following discussions between the government and the UN, the government announced that it would no longer seek UN electoral assistance. That’s the reason why the UN does not plan any UN electoral assistance because there was no agreement on the conduct of a standard UN needs assessment.”