The opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa claims that the Zimbabwean government has withheld an unspecified amount of money it is entitled to under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.
In a statement, the MDC claims that the disbursement of the money was blocked by the MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe.
“In a brazen act of political thuggery, the government has withheld the MDC grant entitled to the party under the Political Parties Finance Act while Zanu PF has already been paid their dues. The past one week has seen top MDC officials being sent from pillar to post in their quest to get the grant entitled to the party under the laws of the country.
“The government grant is the money that as a party we use to support parliamentary work and other administrative and political purposes that advance the agenda of the people who continue to support the MDC, as evidenced by the 2,6 million votes received by President nelson Chamisa in last year’s stolen election. Now Zanu PF is engaging in cheap political games to deny the party its share entitled to it under the Political Parties Finance Act.”
The MDC claims that the Ministry of Justice’s permanent secretary, Virginia Mabhiza, confirmed last week that the government has disbursed state grants to political parties.
“… She confirmed that she had already disbursed money to Zanu PF but upon being asked about the MDC share, she referred us to Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who denied that they had received the money from Treasury. On Tuesday, 6 August 2019, the MDC secretary General Hon. Chalton Hwende met with the Finance Minister Hon. Mthuli Ncube at Parliament in the presence of Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi. Minister Ncube insisted in the presence of Minister Ziyambi that he had since disbursed money to political parties. Minister Ncube expressed shock that the MDC had not received its share of the money, to which minister Ziyambi then promised to disburse the money the following day but he did not do so.”
The MDC further claims that Khupe’s party, represented by Lovemore Madhuku, wrote a letter to the Ministry of Justice indicating that the MDC-T was the rightful beneficiary of the state grant.
“… For that reason they said they could not disburse our money. It is important to state that Madhuku was a presidential candidate who contested the last election. Mrs (sic) Khupe’s party also contested the last election and her party is represented in Parliament. It is shocking that a party with representation in Parliament, which representation fails to meet the threshold for receiving money under the Political Parties Finance Act, would claim money due to another political party.
“The MDC bemoans the conflation between the party and the State which Zanu PF is using to deny us the money due to us under the laws of the land. We have seen statements from the government saying we cannot receive our money because government has other priorities. Yet this is the same government that is on record saying that they have a surplus. If they have a surplus on their budget as they claim, they should simply give the MDC its share.”
Madhuku and Kazembe were not available for comment.
According to the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, until the passage of the Political Parties (Finance) Act of 1992 there was no provision for the financing of political parties in Zimbabwe. The Act provided for state funding of political parties which held 15 seats in parliament or more. At this stage only the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) qualified, holding 117 of the 120 seats in the House of Assembly. The United Parties challenged this provision in the Supreme Court in 1997 and the court ordered the threshold to be reduced to 5% of votes cast in the last general election; effect to this order was given by the Political Parties (Finance) Amendment Act of 1997.
The amount allocated to parties in the annual budget submitted to parliament is paid as soon as is practicable thereafter. Some provisions of the Political Parties (Finance) Act of 2001 stipulate that the budget lays down the amount which each party must receive, and this is determined by the proportion of votes it received in the previous general election.