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Stone-Broke Zimbabwe Earmarks $100 Million for Elections

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti says the unity government has earmarked $100 million for the next general election that observers say looks set to be held next year.

Biti told the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper that the money came under Harare's special drawing rights from the International Monetary Fund to mitigate the effects of the 2009 global financial crisis.

“The SDR was a mere US$500 million. The only money that is left is US$100 million, which we cannot use because we do not know what will happen if the political leaders say they want an election,” he said.

President Mugabe and hardliners in his Zanu PF party have been pushing for elections this year, but he has since climbed down, preferring not to talk about the issue since the Southern Africa Development Community, one of the guarantors of the unity government, said fresh elections should only be called after democratic reforms have been implemented.

Political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube, also director of the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda, told VOA the money is not enough, considering there a constitutional referendum has to be called before the elections.

"We need about $400 million to have a fair and credible election," he said.