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Cash Strapped Zimbabwe Still Considering UN Funding For Polls

Finance Minister Tendai Biti
A deeply divided three-member Zimbabwe cabinet committee tasked with mobilizing funds needed to run the country's general elections expected later this year plans to hold a crucial meeting to review its strategy this week.

The committee comprises Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa. Harare is struggling to raise US$132 million needed for the general election.

It has also emerged that government was forced to borrow US$40 to fund the March constitutional referendum from local companies, the National Social Security Authority (NASA) and Old Mutual Insurance.

Mr. Biti insists Zimbabwe should engage the UN. But Mutambara and Chinamasa are saying Zimbabwe must use its own resources.

The UN says it is open to engaging Harare though it will not back down from its mission to also reach out to non governmental organizations when allowed to visit Harare. Zanu-PF says it is not comfortable with such meetings.

Zanu-PF is also bitter that former United States envoy to Lebanon, ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, now un undersecretary for political affairs, has been appointed to oversee Zimbabwe’s application to the UN saying it is an attempt by Washington to influence elections in Zimbabwe.

But the UN has maintained the missions are standard policies and are not political.

“The UN remains open to engage with the Government of Zimbabwe to determine if an agreement can be reached on the modalities that will allow the NAM (Needs Assessment Mission) to be conducted in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolutions.”

Biti told VOA that Harare is running out of options. He accused Mr. Chinamasa of sending mixed signals to the UN.
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Chinamasa was not picking his mobile phone but Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said he supports the justice ministers stance on the UN.
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Gideon Chitanga, a PHD candidate in politics at Rhodes University says Zanu-PF's conspiracy theories are worrying.
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