ZIMBABWEANS based outside the country are coordinating an initiative to raise funds for the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) to deploy election agents across the country during the 2023 polls.
The opposition has failed to deploy agents in some polling centres in past elections.
The MDC Alliance, then led by CCC leader Nelson Chamisa, was found wanting in the 2018 elections after failing to field polling agents in several polling stations.
The opposition party rejected the 2018 election results, but admitted that it did not have data from a fifth of the nearly 11 000 polling stations due to lack of polling agents.
A member of the new fundraising initiative who also doubles as its spokesperson, Australia-based Henry Jaji said the initiative sought to fund the deployment of polling agents.
“The campaign is a wholly citizen-driven initiative under the banner CCC,” Jaji said in an interview .
“We have so far raised more than US$280 000.
“We are supporting the CCC presidential candidate and we started by raising more than US$120 000 towards the purchase of his vehicle after his convoy was attacked.
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“Our hope is to assist in deploying polling agents at every polling station in 2023.”
Chamisa unveiled the CCC in January this year after Douglas Mwonzora snatched the MDC Alliance party including its symbols and emblems from him.
The CCC does not receive any funding under the Political Parties Finance Act that stipulates that any party with at least 5% of the total votes cast is entitled to Treasury funding.
A fundraising initiative to purchase a bullet-proof vehicle for Chamisa was launched in October 2021 after his convoy was pelted with missiles by suspected Zanu PF activists in Masvingo.
Zanu PF supporters, however, pushed for the vehicle to be seized citing the Political Parties Finances Act prohibiting foreign funding.
A section of the Act reads: “No political party, member of a political party or candidate shall accept any foreign donation, whether directly from the donor or indirectly through a third person.”
At the time, Information ministry permanent secretary Nick Mangwana also warned that the vehicle risked being seized by the state on charges of having been bought illegally, and in violation of the country’s laws.
“Our hope is to minimise the risk of electoral theft,” Jaji said.
“As citizens we want the election to be a true reflection of the will of the people of Zimbabwe and we believe that without polling agents at every polling station, the will of the people will be subverted.”
Another organiser Juma Ulete added: “We have been busy with the initiative since last year.
“We need to raise funds to defend the vote through deploying polling agents at all polling centres.”
Political analyst Kudakwashe Munemo said a citizens-led initiative to fundraise for the CCC was a clear sign that Zimbabweans were willing to fund the struggle for change.
“It’s a good initiative that ought to be sustained for the movement to sustainably resource its operations in light of their past loss of funding from Treasury and at the centre of such should be clear mechanisms of ensuring accountability and transparency,” Munemo said.
Chamisa is likely to stand against President Emmerson Mnangagwa again in the 2023 elections.
Mnangagwa narrowly beat Chamisa in the 2018 disputed polls.