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Elections get $209 trillion

Lucia Makamure

FINANCE minister Samuel Mumbengegwi in his 2008 national budget yesterday set aside $209 trillion to meet the costs of next year’s presidential, leg

islative and council elections.

In his budget presentation in parliament, Mumbengegwi said the money will fund operations of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the Registrar-General office (RG) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

Mumbengegwi said the government had already made available resources for mobile voters’ registration, voters’ roll inspection and the delimitation exercise.

“Under the 2007 budget, government has already availed resources for mobile registration, voters’ roll inspection as well as the delimitation exercise,” said Mumbengegwi.

“In addition, funding requirements, including foreign currency, for election materials such as ballot boxes, indelible ink, tents and other equipment have been met.”

In the 2008 budget, the minister said, funding requirements include personnel costs, vehicle procurement and other election-related costs.

In terms of resources, next year’s polls will need close to 15 000 polling stations with 173 000 ballot boxes for the 210 contested constituencies while each polling station would require at least 12 polling officers and four policemen.

The budget allocation for the elections is also expected to address a critical staff shortage at ZEC, which currently has 140 workers out of the required 823.

Last week, the RG’s office, which runs the voters’ roll and handles identity and citizenship documents, appealed for US$6 million from government for preparations for elections and management of its computerised systems.

The RG’s office’s chief accountant Edwell Mutemaringa recently told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Defence and Home Affairs that the department urgently required $3,5 trillion to print the voters’ roll.

The police are also failing to recruit additional manpower and buy new vehicles for the elections due to lack of funds.

The force currently has 2 000 vehicles out of the required 15 000.

There are 29 000 members of the police and the force intends to recruit 21 000 more.

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