GPA negotiators take begging bowl to UK

GLOBAL Political Agreement negotiators Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF), Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) leave for London over the weekend to engage the international and donor community on the country’s needs before and after elections.

Report by Owen Gagare

The trio is part of Zimbabwe’s international re-engagement team and will use their London trip to persuade the donor community to assist in funding the crucial elections around mid-year.

Britain’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Deborah Bronnert confirmed the London meeting –– organised by the Friends of Zimbabwe and her embassy –– would be held next Tuesday.

“All the major donors will be represented at the meeting which is basically part of the re-engagement process,” said Bronnert.

“The EU (European Union) and all the major donor countries such as the UK, United States, Australia, Germany, Canada, Japan and Switzerland, among others, will be represented. International financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and international bodies such as the United Nations and its agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will also be in attendance.”

Diplomats from Sadc accredited to Britain will also attend the meeting. Mangoma said the re-engagement team had no mandate to plead for election funds although they would highlight the country’s plight in the run-up to and after the polls.

“We will indicate that Zimbabwe has no money and by stating that, we are indirectly asking for assistance,” said Mangoma. “However, our team has no mandate to ask for poll funds because these have already been submitted to the UNDP by the relevant people.

“We will talk about the country’s needs in the near future and in the long-term so that the international community understands them.”

Finance minister Tendai Biti and Chinamasa, who were tasked by the unity government principals to source funding for the just-ended referendum and general elections, wrote a letter to the UNDP resident representative Alain Noudehou dated February 4 asking for assistance to raise US$250 million for the processes.

In the letter the two ministers revealed Zimbabwe only had a combined budget of US$25 million, yet the two processes would cost US$250 million.

About US$85 million was needed for the referendum, which eventually cost about US$55 million, while elections require US$107 million.
The UNDP played a crucial role by mobilising US$21 million for the constitution-making exercise.

The re-engagement team was last year expected to engage Chatham House, the home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs which specialises in independent analysis and informed debate among other things.

The institute engages governments, the private sector, civil society and its members in open debates and confidential discussions about significant developments in international affairs.



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