THE government has raised the money needed to finance next month’s constitutional referendum, a cabinet Minister has confirmed.
Zimbabwe had appealed to donors to help fund the March 16 referendum and elections expected later in the year after Finance Minister Tendai Biti said state coffers were virtually empty.
But with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which financed to constitutional reform process unable to chip-in, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the government would approach local companies to finance the referendum.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had set the budget for the referendum at $75 million and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Sunday that the money had been raised.
“We can safely say that there is enough money that has been raised locally to finance the referendum. The referendum will not be stopped because of lack of money,” Chinamasa told the Sunday Mail.
“The President has gazetted the date for the referendum through the powers vested in him. So, the only thing left now is to hold a successful poll.”
Meanwhile Biti said the UNDP had told the government it could not fund the exercise because the request for support was submitted late.
“We are raising the resources for the referendum which is going to be held next month domestically. One needs to realise that we are doing it on our own,” he said.
“The UNDP wrote to us that we submitted our budgets a bit late. So, they will not be able to meet the timeline because of some bureaucratic procedures. I think they are going to fund the actual election, but, this time, we are going it alone.”
Copac co-chairman, Munyaradzi Mangwana said a publicity campaign would be launched Monday to ensure people were familiar with the draft new constitution.
A new constitution was part of a raft of reforms the GPA parties agreed to implement leading to elections for a substantive government later in the year.
The government will still need to raise more than US$100 million to finance the polls.