IMF loan to fund Zimbabwe elections

2012-07-07 16:44

Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti has given in to pressure from President Robert Mugabe to save money for elections.

A loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will foot the $100-million (about R826 million) election bill, but it might not be enough.

Biti revealed this week he has now made the money available.

He said: “I have $100 million saved for elections because the political leaders can say they want elections any time.”

Zanu-PF is pushing for elections to be held this year but other political parties believe it is too soon to prepare for polls before all reforms are done.

President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team also blocked Mugabe’s intentions for early elections.

But this has not stopped Mugabe from pushing his agenda.

“That is what cowards say. Elections can happen at any time ... Definitely, yes (this year),” Mugabe said at a rally.

The money has been taken from Zimbabwe’s $500-million share of the special drawing rights (SDR) asset of the IMF.

The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves.

Before elections, Zimbabwe is set to conduct a census exercise in August as well as finish the constitution-making process.

John Makumbe, from the University of Zimbabwe, said: “$100 million is too little for elections – we have the census which is of more importance at the moment, but we are struggling to get funding for it.

The constitution-making process is in debt and more money is needed to see it to the end.”

Mugabe recently argued in court papers that to run three by-elections cost $38 million.

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