President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has no moral and legal standing to accuse the MDC-T of surviving on foreign funding because it was also guilty of the same offence, analysts have said.
By Everson Mushava
Information ministry secretary George Charamba, who also doubles as Mugabe’s spokesperson, told the State media on Wednesday that the government could soon deny the MDC-T funding under the Political Parties Finance Act alleging that the main opposition party was getting foreign funding.
He said this after MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora was quoted saying he would lead a four-member delegation to Europe as they start preparing for the 2018 general elections.
Charamba immediately interpreted the report as suggesting the MDC-T officials would be going to get money to build a war chest for the elections. He also threatened that the government would stop any engagement effort with the European Union.
The MDC-T has since denied that it was getting financial support from the European Union member countries.
But media scholar and political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya yesterday said Charamba’s threats could only be reasonable if the two main parties were abiding by the Act.
“Zanu PF thinks that foreign funding is only when the money comes from hostile countries to them,” Ruhanya said.
“But when it is coming from friendly countries like China and Russia, it is not foreign funding. Charamba is correct in applying the law, but not on application. According to his understanding, Chinese and Russians are not foreign. That is his new definition.”
“If Charamba is serious, the law should also apply to Zanu PF,” he said. Mugabe’s Zanu PF had been turning to China and Russia for financial support after being slapped with sanctions by the West. China reportedly bankrolled Zanu PF’s 2013 election campaign.
Political analyst Takura Zhangazha said Charamba’s utterances were more of “a pot calling the other pot more black”.
“All political parties, Zanu PF included, get foreign support in cash and kind. The law should apply to all,” Zhangazha said.
He said Zanu PF’s intention was to clearly undermine the capacity of opposition parties as the country approaches the 2018 general elections.
“Our political culture is no longer based on values, but is now monetised, resources-based and patronage-directed. Zanu PF is trying to deny opposition parties necessary resources to campaign. It is not democratic. Our political system is party-centred,” he said.
Zhangazha, however, urged both Zanu PF and MDC-T to respect the laws of the land regarding funding of political parties.
Another political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza, said Charamba’s statement showed that Zanu PF was running scared. He said Charamba, a civil servant, was speaking on behalf of Zanu PF showing the level of panic in the ruling party.
“That both Zanu PF and the MDC-T receive foreign funding was a known issue,” Mandaza said.
He said Charamba’s statement also showed double standards by Zanu PF which was pledging commitment for engagement with the EU yet it was threatening them at the same time. Mugabe on Wednesday threatened to boot out EU envoys claiming they were funding vendors to resist relocation to designated areas.