12 February 2013

Zimbabwe Appeals for Funds for Polls in June

Photo: IRIN
Zimbabweans voting in previous election.

The Zimbabwean government with the endorsement of both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has made an appeal for funds from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to foot its $250m election bill which is scheduled to take place sometime in June this year.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti and the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, have co-written a letter to the UNDP asking for funds for the June elections, which will end the coalition government.Mr. Biti last month indicated Zimbabwe had only $217 in its account and it would be "too much" for the country to be expected to hold a referendum and elections, soon after having held a national population census in August 2012.

According to Mr. Biti, the census had cost $35m to stage, while the Zimbabwe Election Commission says the upcoming referendum, likely to be held at the end of next month, will cost $85m.

The UNDP played a central role in funding the country's constitution-making process and chipped in with $21m in 2010.

Rashweat Mukundu, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute said the international donor community would likely use the appeal for funding by government to press for a free and fair election.

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