Zec secures $100m poll funding

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HARARE – Zimbabwe has secured close to $100 million for the harmonised elections to be held next week on Wednesday, Finance minister Tendai Biti said yesterday.

“I am pleased to say that we have, as of today (Thursday) disbursed $96 million in support of voter registration, voter education and nomination processes. I believe that by next week we will have liquidated the gap of $36 million meant for voting officials’ per diems and allowances,” Biti told a news conference.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission -— which is tasked with running the watershed polls — had requested $132 million for the successful holding of the elections.

“If the worst comes to the worst, arrangements will be made to providers for the election officers who will be on duty,” said Biti.

Zimbabwe is set to hold fresh elections in five days’ time to end the uneasy coalition between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai which was formed after violent but inconclusive elections in 2008.

Biti declined to disclose the source of the money but said the southern African country was ready to hold  elections on July 31.

“We got the money by hook and crook but I am pleased to say that this time around we did not rape the economy to secure the funds the way we did with the referendum,” Biti said.

“The approach we have taken is that there is life after elections, so this time we have cushioned and protected the economy to the best of our ability.”

In March, government secured $85 million for the referendum from a bond floated to Old Mutual and the National Social Services Authority.

Biti noted that Treasury was left with a huge task of raising the money on its own after government rejected donor funding.

“This has been an unhappy exercise as we were left all on our own to look for the money. What made it even more painful was the incessant interference by other government officials.

“Our efforts to secure funding from elsewhere were constantly frustrated by the Justice minister (Patrick Chinamasa),” he said.

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