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Zimbabwe's Request For UN Election Funding in Limbo

Zimbabwe’s request for election funding from the United Nations is in limbo as bickering among the three parties in the coalition government continues.

In a press statement released after a meeting with the so-called Friends of Zimbabwe donor nations in London this week, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Zanu-PF will not welcome a UN assessment team in the country, saying it does not want the UN to interfere in Zimbabwe’s politics.

Chinamasa said the country will welcome financial resources to buy cars, materials and equipment necessary to support the logistics needed for upcoming elections, but noted that Zimbabwe rejects any attempt to assess the nation's political, legal, institutional, technical and electoral systems.

The minister underscored the fact that Zimbabwe has "the technical and institutional capacity to hold free and fair elections as demonstrated over the years and recently by the referendum."

Mr. Chinamasa underlined the fact that the mechanisms and structures that Zimbabwe has in place were a result of a protracted and delicate process of negotiations by the three parties to the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Zanu-PF therefore said it does not want any foreigners to open discussions on these matters as that will be "tantamount to taking the process backwards."

But the UN says a Needs Assessment Mission is a required first step in responding to a request from a member state for electoral support submitted to the organization.

It says once a Needs Assessment Mission is conducted, the findings are submitted to the UN Focal Point at the UN Headquarters.

Based on the findings of the assessment, the Focal Point will determine the level of support the UN may provide and, as appropriate, recommend that the United Nations Development Programme prepare an electoral assistance project.

However, Energy Minister Elton Mangoma of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told VOA that the MDC is open to an assessment.
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Zimbabwe's 2008 elections were marred by extreme violence. In the aftermath, the country's two main political parties were forced to share power.