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Zimbabwean Government Allocates Z$15 Trillion To Fund 2008 Campaigns

The Zimbabwean government has allocated Z$15 trillion dollars to the ruling ZANU-PF party and the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change to fund operations in the 2008 election year, a more than 20-fold increase from $650 million in 2007.

Political sources said that based on its share of the vote in the 2005 general election, ZANU-PF will receive some $9 trillion while the two MDC formations led, respectively, by Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, will divide up the remainder.

The total of Z$15 trillion equals some US$5-7 million at the parallel market exchange rate, which has fluctuated recently amid a severe shortage of local cash money.

Zimbabwe's Political Parties Finance Act forbids parties from receiving foreign funding though they may accept donations from local individuals or businesses.

Deputy spokeswoman Thabitha Khumalo of the opposition faction headed by Morgan Tsvangirai said the money does not amount to much considering the rate of inflation, but her party will meet to consider how to share the allocation with its rival faction.

Spokesman Gabriel Chaibva of the Mutambara MDC grouping told Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his formation will share the allocation equally with the Tsvangirai faction regardless of how many seats they hold in parliament.

The Tsvangirai faction holds 21 seats in the lower house vs. 20 held by members of the Mutambara faction, which also has seven senate seats (the Tsvangirai faction did not contest the 2005 senate election, which triggered the MDC's split that year).

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...