THE MDC Alliance in Midlands is struggling to pay off agents who manned polling stations for the party during the July 30 elections, amid revelations that a partner organisation which had committed to settle the payments is yet to disburse the funds.
BY BRENNA MATENDERE
The development has created a stand-off between candidates who stood in the harmonised polls, representing the Nelson Chamisa-led party, and the agents, most of whom are unemployed and had hoped to be rewarded for the services rendered.
Midlands has a total of 27 parliamentary seats and over 200 councillors’ posts from 14 local authorities.
The MDC Alliance fielded candidates in all of them and deployed agents to monitor proceedings inside the polling stations to avoid rigging.
Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe, who is also the MDC Alliance provincial treasurer in Midlands South and ward 2 councillor, confirmed that the party agents were still to be paid.
“There is an outcry from the agents that we deployed in polling stations across the province. There had been an undertaking that they will be paid and they signed short contracts for the services they rendered,”he said.
“However, the money to pay them is yet to come from an organisation that had partnered us in ensuring free and fair elections that have no traits of rigging. We are, however, hopeful that the money will come and then all the agents can be (paid).”
Makombe said as a temporary measure, he had personally sourced $1 000, which he channelled towards payment of agents in his ward 2 area and urged other candidates to follow suit in the interim.
“In my ward, there was much of an outcry, with agents drawn from our party structures accusing elected office bearers of neglecting them after winning. So what I did is that I made savings and raised about $1 000 personally, which I used to make temporary payments,” he said.
“I urge other candidates who stood for our party to try and raise some cash from personal means while we wait for the money to come. Politics is all about dedication and sacrifice, and so that’s my clarion call.”
MDC Alliance Midlands provincial spokesperson Munyaradzi Mutandavari echoed Makombe’s sentiments.
“Some of the agents have been pointing out that a lot of time has passed since they rendered the services of being agents at the polling stations. The process, as you might be aware, meant manning the polling stations from the day the ballot boxes arrived up to end of counting, so we are talking of people who braved the chilly weather and slept in polling stations,” he said.
“So, for candidates who can afford, we urge them to source for some money while we wait for funds that are being organised at party level. We want the agents to be cheerful and we thank our own provincial treasurer, Mr Makombe, who led by example.”