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Feud in Zimbabwe's Fractured Opposition Turns to Allocation of Public Party Financing

The two feuding factions of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change have begun to wrangle over the disposition of funds allocated to the party for 2006 under the Southern African country’s Political Parties Finance Act. Some expect the ruling party will direct this largesse so as to further destabilize the opposition.

The sum of 6.9 billion Zimbabwe dollars – about $75,000 U.S. dollars – is earmarked for the MDC this year. The faction led by MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai, defined by its opposition to November’s senate elections, and the so-called pro-senate faction led by Secretary General Welshman Ncube, both lay claim to the public financing.

Legal experts say Justice Minister Patrick Chinimasa is likely to bestow the funding on the faction his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party, or ZANU-PF, sees posing less of a threat to its grip on power. ZANU-PF with 78 parliamentary seats, will receive just over 13 billion Zimbabwe dollars, about US$150,000.

Legal expert Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, a political reform advocacy group, said the funding battle could end up in the courts.

Reporter Blessing Zulu sought comment from Harare East member of parliament and Tsvangirai loyalist Tendai Biti, who asserted his faction’s claim to the funding.

MDC Deputy Secretary General Gift Chimanikire, prominent in the pro-senate faction led by secretary general Ncube, made the case for his party to receive the funds.

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