Zimbabwe

Zim to beg for poll funds - $192m required

2013-01-30 10:36
Zimbabwe's finance minister, Tendai Biti. (File, AFP)

Zimbabwe's finance minister, Tendai Biti. (File, AFP)

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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson has reportedly described President Barack Obama’s visit to the African Union headquarters as 'just a visit by another visitor'.

Cape Town – Zimbabwe is set to source funds from the international community for the forthcoming referendum and general elections after principals in the country’s inclusive government agreed to a new constitution last week.

According to a report by Herald online, Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa and his finance counterpart Tendai Biti were tasked with sourcing money for the two events from donors.

At least $85m is needed for the referendum, while elections require $107m.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had budgeted $220m for the two events, but the amount has been reviewed to $192m.

The reduction in the budget followed the scrapping of the delimitation exercise that was going to consume some of the funds.

Chinamasa said he would meet Biti to work on modalities to source the funds.

"Yes, we are going to do that and I have put up suggestions to minister Biti which we are going to discuss...," said Chinamasa.

Minister Biti, who is also the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary-general, confirmed that they were charged with extending the begging bowl to donors.

He said government coffers were empty and last month they struggled to pay civil servants.

"The president and the prime minister wrote to me and minister Chinamasa instructing us to source money to fund elections from the international community," said Biti.

"We will be approaching the international community on the basis of that letter."

The elections are expected to bring to an end a shaky power-sharing government that President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were forced into in 2009 after deadly and disputed polls held the previous year.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  patrick chinamasa  |  tendai biti  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa
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