By Ebenezzer Sibanda
OPPOSITION MDC secretary general Chalton Hwende has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration of using former Deputy Prime Minister and MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe as well as her lawyer Lovemore Madhuku to deny the Chamisa led party its share of government funding.
In a statement issued in response to inquiries from NewZimbabwe.com, Hwende claimed he had been sent from pillar to post by several government officials including Justice secretary Virginia Mabhiza after demanding his party’s share under the Political Parties Finance Act.
While the ruling Zanu PF party two weeks ago claimed it had not received any funds from government, Hwende claims Mabhiza confirmed to him that the money had been disbursed.
“We place it on record that it was none other than permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice (Mabhiza) who confirmed to the MDC last week that the government had disbursed money to political parties.
“She confirmed she had already disbursed money to Zanu PF but upon being asked about the MDC’s share, she referred us to Justice Minister Kazembe Kazembe (sic) (Ziyambi Ziyambi is Justice Minister) who denied they had received the money from Treasury,” said Hwende.
According to Hwende, the MDC secretary general on August 6th confronted Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube in Kazembe’s presence at which the Treasury chief confirmed he had disbursed the funds.
“Minister Ncube expressed shock that the MDC had not received its share of the money,” the MDC chief said. “Kazembe then promised to disburse the money the following day but he did not do so.”
Hwende added: “The next thing we heard from the Ministry of Justice was that they were not releasing our money because they had received a letter from Lovemore Madhuku on behalf of Mrs Thokozani Khupe, the president of another party calling itself the MDC-T, seeking to receive our share of the money. For that reason they could not disburse our money.”
Madhuku and Khupe were presidential candidates in last year’s elections and are now part of a dialogue platform convened by President Mnangagwa that Chamisa has dismissed as useless.
Early this week Information Ministry secretary Nick Mangwana issued a statement to the effect that government did not have money to give political parties because it was seized with other priorities.
Hwende scoffed at the claim arguing “this is the same government that claims it has a surplus.”
“The MDC bemoans the conflation between party and State which Zanu PF is using to deny us the money due to us under the laws of the land,” he said.
Khupe broke away from Chamisa under a cloud after a leadership wrangle broke out following the death of party founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai last year. The dispute almost turned nasty at Tsvangirai’s funeral wake when rogue party youths aligned to Chamisa tried to torch a hut in which Khupe and then secretary general Douglas Mwonzora had sought refuge in Buhera.
Early this year a party activist approached the High Court seeking to have Chamisa declared illegitimate and the High Court ruled the in Gokwe party member’s favour. However Chamisa appealed the decision at the Constitutional Court and the matter is still pending.
Khupe after the bruling declared she was legitimate leader of the party and wanted access to all its properties and structures but Chamisa ignored her and went ahead with a congress in May at which he was confirmed as party boss.