Murky political party funding raises stink

WHILE government is searching for money to finance the constitutional referendum and general elections, political parties are also secretly hunting for funds to bankroll their electoral campaigns.

Staff Writer

Official sources say Zanu PF and the two MDC parties are currently looking for money at home and abroad to fund their campaigns despite the law prohibiting foreign funding.

Zanu PF, which benefited from the largesse of the late British tycoon Tony Rowland, accuses the two MDC parties of being foreign-funded, while its rivals also say it is secretly getting money from outside.

The Zimbabwe Independent recently reported Meikles group mogul John Moxon donated vehicles to Zanu PF last year to boost President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s bid to remain in power.

An official source said yesterday the main contributor to Mugabe’s secretive and controversial US$20 million presidential well-wishers agricultural input scheme was Equatorial Guinea leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

“That money came from Equatorial Guinea,” the source said. “While it accuses the MDC of receiving foreign funding, Zanu PF also does the same. The party covertly gets money from local and international sources. Party funding is murky everywhere, including in Zimbabwe. Politicians campaign using dirty funds.”

Mugabe is currently in Equatorial Guinea for the Africa-South America summit. Sources say he may request for further funding from his ally Nguema who has previously supplied government with fuel after Harare helped to thwart a coup plot by a group of mercenaries led by former British Special Air Services officer Simon Mann in 2004.

Even if they are bitter rivals, it seems Zanu PF and the two MDC parties agree on one thing: refusing to declare sources of their secret funds. Analysts say there is need for clear funding laws, rules and regulations to minimise chequebook politics destroying the right of voters to choose their leaders freely and eroding democracy.

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