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Zimbabwe Too Broke To Fund Elections

President Robert Mugabe’s push for elections in March next year is in serious jeopardy as indications are that the country has no money to fund the crucial poll with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) saying it cannot guarantee a clean voters’ roll in time for the vote.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti confirmed to VOA Studio 7 that he told President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team, currently in Harare for two-day meetings, that Zimbabwe has no money and needs assistance from South Africa, developed nations and the United Nations.

In his 2013 budget, Biti allocated US$50 million for both the constitutional referendum and harmonized elections, which the ZEC says is a far cry from the amount needed to hold successful elections.

In meetings with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Harare Thursday, ZEC said it needs US$220 million to run the referendum and harmonized elections.

The commission said it also needed about 18 months to clean the shambolic voters’ roll.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) in 2010 said 27 percent of people on the voters’ roll were deceased, a figure translating to a third of the registered voters.

ZESN said that the anomalies opened the way for “double voting and other rigging intentions”.

The report also found that more than 500 dead voters had all been given the same birth date - January 1, 1901.

Elections Resource Centre Project officer Jack Zaba told VOA that a flawed voters’ roll favours Zanu-PF.

ZESN chairman Peter Zwana said in an interview with VOA that Harare’s chaotic preparations for polls are a cause for concern.
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