Zim needs money to vote on constitution

2011-09-30 12:53

Zimbabwe will have to raise $88 million (more than R700 million) to hold a vote on a new constitution which has yet to be drafted ahead of fresh polls, state media reported today.

“The referendum needs money as an enabling resource and we are talking of over $88 million for the whole process,” Joyce Kazembe, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission acting chair was quoted as saying by The Herald newspaper.

“As much as we welcome support from various stakeholders, the funding of an election or referendum is the responsibility of the state. We cannot let anyone fund any electoral process because we would be undermining our own sovereignty.”

The composition of the electoral commission is one of the sticking points in the shaky coalition government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai set up two years ago.

Tsvangirai has complained that the electoral body is heavily staffed by state security operatives who support Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and wants new officials elected.

The referendum is a precursor to fresh elections after a bloody presidential run-off election in June 2008 which forced the formation of the unity government.

Dates for the referendum and general elections are yet to be set.

The constitution committee had originally set June 30 as the date of the referendum on the draft constitution, before it was moved to September but the constitution is still yet to be drafted.

The public consultation process was repeatedly disrupted by violent attacks, including one in which a Tsvangirai supporter was killed when militant Mugabe backers attacked members of the public attending a meeting.

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