Accessibility links

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Says Budget Insufficient for 2011 Elections


Finance Minister Tendai Biti allocated the Electoral Commission US$30 million to hold a constitutional referendum and set aside US$20 million for a range of other tasks including a voters roll overhaul and redistricting

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has declared that the funds it was allocated by the Ministry of Finance for 2011 are insufficient to cover the costs of national elections such as President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party have urged be held this year.

Mr Mugabe said late last year that elections should be held by June and his party later endorsed that course of action in its annual conference early last month.

But both formations of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which is co-governing with ZANU-PF in the unity government formed in February 2009, backed by the Southern African Development Community, say many electoral reforms must be put in place before elections can be held - including adoption of a new constitution.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti allocated the Electoral Commission US$30 million to hold a referendum on the new constitution yet to be drafted, and set aside US$20 million for a range of other tasks including a voters roll overhaul and redistricting.

The commission has appealed to Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, head of a rival MDC formation, for increased funding.

ZEC Chairman Simpson Mutambanengwe told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that his commission cannot execute its reform agenda with its present budget.

The predecessor electoral commission headed by now-High Court Justice George Chiweshe withheld the results of the first round of the 2008 presidential election for more than a month, and was suspected by some of tampering with ballots or counts to deprive opposition candidate Tsvangirai of a first round majority and the presidency.

Zimbabwe's elections have been disputed since 2000 resulting in the imposition by the United States, Europe and others of targeted financial and travel sanctions on Mr. Mugabe and more than 200 members of his inner circle.

XS
SM
MD
LG