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New Discord Among Zimbabwe Governing Partners on Political Parties Finance

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (L) and President Robert Mugabe (R).

President Mugabe's ZANU-PF says it received the most votes in 2008 general elections so it should receive the largest share of funds, but MDC officials say a formula including Senate votes should be negotiated

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have added another item to the long list of their disagreements: how to share US$4 million budgeted for the financing of political parties with parliamentary seats.

ZANU-PF says it should receive more of the funds to be disbursed under the Political Parties (Finance) Act than the MDC formations of Mr. Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, arguing that it received some 2.22 million votes in the 2008 general elections, compared with 2.08 million received by the Tsvangirai MDC and just over 363,000 polled by the Mutambara MDC.

Using this formula, ZANU-PF would receive US$1.90 million, the Tsvangirai MDC US$1.8 million and the smaller MDC formation US$312,000.

The Political Parties (Finance) Act says public funds should be allocated to the parties in proportion to their share of votes cast in a parliamentary election.

But the Tsvangirai MDC says a formula must be negotiated as the funding in the past was based on a parliament with just one chamber - the House. The party wants the funds to be based on votes cast for the House and Senate.

The Senate was added between the 2005 and 2008 general elections when a constitutional amendment harmonized presidential and general elections.

MDC Deputy Secretary General Tapuwa Mashakada told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that the three parties are expected to negotiate for the inclusion of the Senate votes before sharing the US$4 million.

But former finance minister Simba Makoni, leader of the Mavambo/Kusile party, said that given the dire straits in which the nation finds itself, funding of political parties should be temporarily suspended in order to focus on improving the quality of life of the economically struggling general population.

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