Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says his power-sharing government has no money to conduct by-elections to fill vacant parliamentary and senate seats.
In an affidavit filed on his behalf by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in response to a High Court lawsuit filed by three former legislators who want by-elections in their former constituencies, Mr. Mugabe says about US$38, 3 million is needed for polls to fill all the vacant posts.
There are 11 vacant seats in the House of Assembly, seven in the Senate and 50 in local councils. The by-elections will be conducted as soon as funds are secured, President Mugabe said.
The lawsuit was brought by former Members of Parliament Abednico Bhebhe, Norman Mpofu and Njabuliso Mguni, all fired from the MDC formation led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara last year.
Attorney Matshobana Ncube, representing the trio, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the matter will be heard in the High Court sometime next month.
ZANU-PF meanwhile, is reported to have kicked into an electioneering mode, flighting adverts in the state-run Herald and Chronicle newspapers attacking its opponents.
In this campaign, dubbed “ZANU-PF: The unstoppable machine”, the party warns the masses not to vote for parties “living on borrowed oxygen.”
The ads, flighted by ZANU-PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, claim emerging parties are offside and not representing the wishes of the people.
Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo played down the notion that his party is now in campaign mode, saying the ads were just an expression by his party to keep in touch with its support base.
Political commentator Innocent Chofamba Sithole told VOA Studio 7 reporter Chris Gande that ZANU-PF wants to be ahead of the MDC, hence the launch of its campaign ahead of the other parties.