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Zimbabwe Election Funding Elusive as South Africa Refers Request to SADC

South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has recommended that Zimbabwe sends its election funding appeal to the Southern African Development Community for consideration, contradicting remarks by the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Ebrahim Ebrahim, last week that Pretoria was willing to help fund Zimbabwe’s elections.

Gordhan was responding to questions in the South African parliament on reports that Harare had requested funding from Pretoria.

Reached for comment by VOA, Ebrahim refered all questions to Gordhan, whose office said he was unavailable. Cash strapped Zimbabwe needs about US$132 million to finance elections expected later this year.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti is on record saying Zimbabwe has appealed to regional giants, South Africa and Angola, for election funding. A senior South African foreign ministry official told VOA though that biti is yet to officially request the country’s southern neighbour for money.

VOA could not reach Biti who is said to be in China. Zimbabwe had initially requested election funding from the United Nations. But Zanu-PF rejected what it called “conditions attached to the aid”.

Political analyst Blessing Vava of the National Constitutional Assembly said that if SADC funds the election, it will have more leverage in pushing for reforms in Harare.