By James Muonwa
ZANU PF and the opposition MDC led by Douglas Mwonzora have received half a billion dollars ahead of the March 26 local council and parliamentary by-elections.
The money was availed this week to the two political parties by the Treasury through the Justice Ministry courtesy of the Political Parties (Finance) Act.
Zanu PF will receive the lion’s share of $350 150 000 translating to 70.3%, while the MDC pockets $149 850 000.
The funds come at an appropriate time for the two political formations as they will boost their coffers ahead of the March 26 by-elections.
The two beneficiaries are set to face a stiff challenge in the by-elections from the newly formed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), which was launched in Harare by its president, Nelson Chamisa early this week.
Most of the contested seats are a result of the recalling of scores of MDC Alliance MPs and councillors by Mwonzora over the past two years on the grounds that they had “ceased to be MDC-T” members.
However, in an Extraordinary Government Gazette published this week, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi confirmed the two parties had received their funds allocated under the 2022 national budget.
“Disbursement of money to political parties. It is hereby notified, in terms of Section 3 (2) of Political Parties (Finance) Act 2:11 that the total amount of money’s payable to political parties in respect of the year beginning 1st January 2022 and ending 31st December 2022 is five hundred million ($500 million) Zimbabwean dollars,” part of the notice reads.
“The money shall be disbursed to political parties that qualify in terms of Section 3 (2) of the Act as follows:
- . three hundred and fifty million, one hundred and fifty thousand Zimbabwean dollars (ZW$350 150 000.00) shall be paid to the Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) Zanu PF, which received 70, 03% of votes cast.
- .one hundred and forty-nine million, eight hundred and fifty thousand Zimbabwean dollars (ZW$149 850 000) shall be paid to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which received 29, 97% of the total votes cast.”
Last year, Mwonzora received $59 million, while Zanu PF got $140 million.
Mwonzora took over control of the MDC from Khupe at the 2020 elective congress.
However, Mwonzora was last year accused by party members of abusing the political parties’ funds by channelling the money on the black market and buying foreign currency. He was reported to the police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) by some party officials, but no investigations took place.
Last week, Khupe, who was deputy to Mwonzora announced she had broken ranks with the MDC-T following her suspension by the party president, who alleged she was supping with adversaries and fermenting dissent in the opposition party.
The government’s political party funding is disbursed to parties with 5% of the parliamentary vote, a situation which has left smaller formations lobbying the state to extend financing to all to allow them to campaign during the run-up to elections.
In 2018, more than 100 political parties contested in the national elections for the local council, parliamentary and presidential seats.