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Parties hit by funding problems

BARELY a month before elections, most political parties are struggling to fund their campaigns resulting in some of them forcing candidates to source own funding.

Staff Writer

It emerged that despite Zanu PF’s push for early elections, the former liberation movement is in serious financial problems together with the MDC-T, MDC and Zapu, among others.

With elections widely expected on July 31 as proclaimed by President Robert Mugabe, Zanu PF is failing to pay its workers and postponed primary elections as the party could not finance logistics for the internal polls.

Party insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent that the top military brass, which ran the primaries, ordered participating candidates to mobilise resources.

Aspiring National Assembly members, senators and provincial council members were pushed by the military to contribute US$90 each while local authority aspirants had to part with US$10 to pay for primary election voting material.

“This is how bad the situation is because even though we have been told that campaigns will be in full swing after the launch of the manifesto on Friday (today), it will be difficult to roll out the programme for many aspiring candidates due to lack of resources,” said a senior party official.

This comes as Manicaland provincial governor Christopher Mushohwe reportedly sent a begging bowl to white commercial farmers who survived the chaotic farm invasions.

Mushohwe held a meeting with the white farmers at the Golden Peacock Hotel recently where he reportedly asked them to help fund Zanu PF’s election campaign, failure of which would result in them losing their farms.

Other top Zanu PF officials are also busy arm-twisting businesspeople to help finance the election campaign to ensure Mugabe remains in power, sources say.

Since 2009, the party has been reportedly relying on an overdraft with a local bank which amounted to US$5 million in February 2012.
The party is reportedly too broke to kick-start the election campaign, although it received 550 vehicles from businessman John Moxon for its election campaign.

Things are also not rosy for the MDC-T, which is failing to pay party members’ promised allowances for their role in the primary elections.
Party officials said they were owed between US$200 and US$400, which should have been paid by June 24, but no explanation has been given from deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma.

Party members were each promised US$50 for accommodation, US$10 for food and US$10 for airtime for the period they were engaged in the primaries.

“It shows that the party is broke,” said a source. “There is no money and I am sure top officials are scrounging for cash to sponsor campaigns. Maybe the situation will improve next week after the launch of the campaign programme on Saturday (tomorrow) at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera. Otherwise, there will be a disaster if things don’t change,” said a source.

The MDC led by Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube is also not in a stable financial position with candidates having been instructed to finance themselves.

The candidates had to source their own funding to print fliers and posters.

“We are preparing for elections, but there is no money. However, candidates are trying by all means to mobilise funds because it’s now clear that elections will go ahead on July 31,” said a top party official.

Zapu, which failed to settle a US$15 000 outstanding rental bill, is also broke.

The Zimbabwe Development Party led by Kisinoti Mukwazhe last week went to the Constitutional Court in a desperate move to try and compel government to release US$1,5 million to fund its campaign. The application was dismissed.

Zanu PF and the MDC formations were allocated US$5 million in the 2013 national budget, which they shared proportionally according to the number of legislators each party has in parliament.

The Political Parties Finance Act provides for funding of political parties by the state provided the party meets the threshold of 5% of the vote.

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