Back to Index, Back to Special Index
This article participates on the following special index pages:
New Constitution-making process - Index of articles
China funding Zimbabwe-s referendum and elections
February 24, 2013
All of a sudden Zimbabwe-s cash-strapped coalition government
has funds for polls despite making an appeal for help from the United
Nations to foot its US$250m election bill only a fortnight ago.
Ironically, in April
2011, Zanu-PF turned down an offer by the United Nations to fund
and supervise elections, accusing the UN of taking the wrong side
in the Ivory Coast conflict.
But in a major climb
down Zanu-PF-s Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa had co-written
a letter with MDC-T-s Finance Minister Tendai Biti to the
UNDP asking for funds for the elections whose date still remains
Just before putting down
their glasses of champagne of celebrating that the UNDP had "approved"
Zimbabwe-s request for election money, another breaking news
came "Zimbabwe fails to secure external funding for referendum"
Although, Finance Minister
Tendai Biti reportedly wanted the referendum delayed for lack of
funds, the Head of State and Government of disunity, Robert Mugabe
told visiting bishops Zimbabwe will be able to raise US$200 million
using its natural resources.
Curiously, the same natural
resources Mugabe was referring to (presumably diamonds, platinum,
elephants and rhinos) have not been used transparently to fund education,
Zimbabwe-s employment creation efforts or health for all,
but have arguably been given to China for a song.
As if the GNU
was just playing cry wolf over poll funds, the Sunday Mail on 24th
February 2013 quoted Patrick Chinamasa as saying the government
has raised enough funds for the constitutional
referendum scheduled for March 16, without disclosing the source
of the money.
Now, the question is
Where did Zimbabwe suddenly get the referendum money at such a short
notice which did not exist before the failed joint bid by the two
ministers for UN funding?
Given that Zimbabwean
companies are operating at 50% capacity or lower and cannot easily
part with US$200 million required, as seen from the unsuccessful
rent seeking for Mugabe-s 21st Feb Movement which secured
donations from only two local businesses, Bhadhela and Jays wholesalers
, so where has Zimbabwe secured funds for the controversial referendum
Arguably, people are
left to speculate on the coincidence of the revived confidence with
recent arrival in Harare of the Chinese Minister of Commerce, Chen
Deming, who, without delay signed three memoranda of understanding
with Zimbabwe including one for an interest free US$9.6 million
loan from China to Zimbabwe (ZBC, 22/02/13).
At a time when Zimbabwe
Republic Police is criminalising the ownership of wind-up short
wave radio sets, the Chinese delegation handed over an outside broadcasting
van and the uplink obviously to boost Zanu-PF propaganda while denying
As if to reassure
her Chinese guest, the Acting President Joyce Mujuru reportedly
declared that Western observers are not welcome to monitor Zimbabwe-s
harmonised elections. This is a bit strange considering the fact
that they have not yet secured the necessary funds for elections.
Or, is this Zanu-PF-s way of telling the European Union, to
stay away from the 2013 elections, despite easing targeted sanctions
on 21 Mugabe loyalists supposedly to reward him, in the hope of
sharing the economic cake at the expense of human rights given the
crackdown on NGOs in Zimbabwe?
That Zimbabwe is fast
speeding towards an uncertain future is observable from the arrogance
of the leaders who are stubbornly holding onto an arbitrary referendum
date that nobody is ready for, while the judiciary appears uncertain
on how to handle the NCA petition which seeks to postpone the event
feared by many as potentially violent close to polling day.
While the source of poll
funds may be puzzling, it may not be as curious as the MDC-T-s
endorsement of the unrealistic referendum date of 16 March given
the poor logistics in the country.
is Morgan Tsvangirai-s approval of what some in both MDC formations
view as Zanu-pf sympathisers to head the Human Rights Commission
and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission ahead of the mother of all
Is China funding Zimbabwe-s
referendum and elections?
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.