Zimbabwe parties disagree on polls

2013-04-17 07:54


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Harare - Zimbabwe may fail to secure desperately-needed UN funding for crunch elections, as political rivals disagree over how much access to allow an assessment mission by the world body, the prime minister warned on Tuesday.

Cash-strapped Zimbabwe has approached the United Nations for help with financing the general elections which are due later this year, on a date which has yet to be fixed.

For the UN to consider the request, it was invited to undertake an assessment mission to the country.

But the main political rivals in the country's uneasy power sharing government have reached a deadlock on how far to allow the UN panel to go.

"The UN team wants unlimited access but some of our colleagues feel it should be limited to meetings with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the registrar-general's office, ambassadors and political parties," Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said, referring to President Robert Mugabe's camp.

"There is no consensus on that. We have different views," Tsvangirai told reporters in Harare after holding talks with Mugabe, his longtime political rival.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa from Mugabe's party and Finance Minister Tendai Biti, a member of Tsvangirai's party, have been tasked with looking for external funding for the vote.

Tsvangirai could only express "hope the two ministers will convince the mission to proceed".

Biti on Monday said the country was in need of $132m for the polls which Mugabe's party wants held as early as June.

He said there was no money in the national coffers for the vote. Apart from seeking foreign funding, the government would also try to raise funds on the domestic front.

Biti said Zimbabwe had to raise enough money or risk the credibility of the vote.

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