13 July 2014

Zimbabwe: Renewal, MDC-T Fight for Funds

The two MDC-T factions are poised for yet another fight -- this time over the US$3 million political parties fund that the party is entitled to receive from treasury.

The factions, one led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the splinter group fronted by the party's ex-secretary general Tendai Biti both claim to be the legitimate MDC and hence the rightful beneficiary to the fund.

According to Zimbabwe's constitution, political parties with parliamentary seats are entitled to government financial support under the Political Parties Finance Act to prevent a situation where political parties are foreign funded.

Finance ministry sources told The Standard that treasury was about to make the first disbursement under the Political Parties Funding programme.

Spokesperson for the Tsvangirai-led MDC-T, Douglas Mwonzora said treasury had not yet disbursed the funds to the party.

"The money including that for last year has not been disbursed and it is now US$3 million.The money was supposed to come just after the budget but now we don't know when it will come," he said.

Mwonzora said the Tsvangirai-led MDC-T was the legitimate MDC and rightful beneficiary because they were in control of the MPs in parliament.

"They [Renewal Team] are in a terrible state of denial. Biti was expelled from the party and he never challenged his expulsion from the party at Harvest House.There is no doubt who controls the members of parliament in MDC; it's MDC-T. The money will come to the party via the functionaries, that is through the acting secretary general Tapiwa Mashakada," he said.

But MDC Renewal Team spokesperson Jacob Mafume said the money would come through Biti, insisting he was still the legitimate party secretary general. He said the MDC-T was still functional with only a few individuals including Tsvangirai and party chairman, Lovemore Moyo currently on suspension.

"This will not be the first time that the party has received money. It will be received by the secretary general Tendai Biti in the usual way as the party has only one secretary general," he said.

Efforts to get a comment from treasury were fruitless as the Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa was said to be out of the country. His deputy Samuel Undenge was not answering his phone yesterday.

According to Zimbabwe's Political Parties (Finance) Act (PPFA), funding of political parties by the State is provided to any party with a 5% threshold of the vote (Electoral Act 2:13).

The MDC-T, which entered last July's general elections in one piece, has been rocked by serious infighting over calls for leadership renewal.

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