HomeLocal NewsZanu PF sharply divided over poll funding

Zanu PF sharply divided over poll funding

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SHARP differences have emerged in the fractious Zanu PF as party Copac co-chair Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana clashed with Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa over whether to seek foreign funding to hold the make-or-break harmonised elections later this year.

Report by Staff Reporters

The move by President Robert Mugabe’s senior party members has escalated infighting within the divided Zanu PF as a clique within the party has “vociferously” rejected foreign funding of the poll and blocked the visit of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) assessment team.

Mangwana, who is Zanu PF Chivi Central MP, said Zimbabwe needed foreign funding to bankroll its election, with Chinamasa insisting the country should fund its electoral process.

Speaking at a discussion forum this week, Mangwana said the constitution-making process had successfully been funded by the UNDP, and without meddling with the electoral process, the same could be done on elections.

“It would be desirable to get funding from Sadc or any other funders like the UN,” Mangwana said. “The constitution-making process was partly funded by the UNDP and the government on a 50/50 basis and we had a successful referendum but the problem with UN funding is when they start meddling with our sovereignty. When they start meddling with our sovereignty, then they can keep their funding.”

Zanu PF recently blocked a UN needs assessment team from visiting the country over a decision by the team to meet various civic organisations and eminent Zimbabweans during its visit. The party has also vowed not to invite foreign observer missions in the forthcoming elections, particularly the West, accusing them of a “regime change” agenda in the country.

Mangwana admitted that there was nothing wrong in foreigners chipping in in Zimbabwe’s electoral processes, hours before Finance minister Tendai Biti told Parliament during a question and answer session in Parliament said that Chinamasa was blocking foreign funding.

Biti said an agreement had been reached between Zanu PF and the MDCs on the UN needs assessment team and the groups of people the team would consult, but was shocked to learn the team had been threatened with arrest should they set foot in the country.

“But, be that as it may, Mr Speaker, Minister Chinamasa and I met on the 14th of April, 2013 and agreed that, to define terms of reference for the UN team and we said they can come into Zimbabwe and we will discuss the issue of election financing and the budget, not the terms of references that they defined in their letter of the 17th of February, 2013,” Biti said.

“We also agreed on the persons that they were going to come and see, namely, the Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance, Co-Ministers of Home Affairs, Minister of Regional Integration, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Registrar- General, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Prof Mutambara, Chief Secretary to Cabinet, the ambassadors from the Fish Mongers, and ambassadors from the Sadc region.

Notwithstanding that agreement, it has been made clear to the UN that if they come here, they will be arrested, which is not on because we reached an agreement in black and white.”

Biti added: “The bottom line is that we have no money for the elections, but there is goodwill from the international community. We have to demonstrate a political will.

“Sadc too is willing to support the election, but no one is prepared to finance a process that is not going to work. No one is going to put their taxpayers’ money in a hole if there are no reforms.”

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