TREASURY has released $3,4 million to the opposition MDC under the Political Parties Finance Act.
The money was released two weeks ago following months of bickering, with the opposition party accusing government of withholding the funds to sabotage its activities.
MDC treasurer-general David Coltart confirmed the development.
“Yes, we have received the interim amount of $3,4 million. We are expecting more – about $1,9 million,” Coltart said.
Coltart said the delay in the release of the funds was meant to frustrate the opposition party.
“The money is now worth a fraction of what it did when it should have been paid. There is no doubt the delay was designed to frustrate us,” Coltart said yesterday.
“It certainly undermined our capacity to fight the various by-elections such as Lupane and Mangwe.”
The MDC has been accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration of deliberately withholding the money to cripple its activities, including campaigning for by-elections while the ruling party enjoys a competitive advantage by abusing State resources for campaigns.
Former MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora in April claimed government’s failure to release the funds forced the party into a logistical nightmare in preparing the party’s first elective congress after the death of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February last year.
The Political Parties Finance Act requires government to pay any political party with 5% and more political representation in Parliament.
The MDC leader Nelson Chamisa is alleged to walk away $720 000 richer as he is set to pocket 20% of the $3 596 400 which the is expected to get from the Treasury under the Political Parties Finance Act.
The MDC will get the share from the $12 million allocated to political parties by the Treasury while Zanu-PF will get $8 403 600.
This comes of the back of the two political parties being the only one to amassed more than 5% votes in the July 2018 elections, as stated in the budget.
However, party insiders say Chamisa is likely to get 20% of the total amount to be received since the same was done to former president, the late Morgan Tsvangirai from 2015 until the time he succumbed to cancer in 2018.
A source within the opposition movement told 263Chat that during the time that Tsvangirai became ill, the party agreed to give him 20% of the money from the treasury for his upkeep.
At some point the Mnangagwa led govt was accused of withholding the MDC’s share of funds under the Political Parties Finance Act in a bid to stop possible use of the money to fund protests, the opposition party has said.
Top party sources said efforts have been made to get the money but government has moved its officials from pillar to post with no tangible reason.
“We have not received our share from the Political Parties Finance Act because government thinks we will use the money to fund protests. They are scared and now are withholding the money despite a public pronouncement to the effect that the money was now available,” said a source.
Party spokesperson Daniel Molokele said he was not privy to the reasons as to why government is holding on the money, months after Treasury released it.
“We have not yet received the money. The secretary general (Charlton Hwende) has been chasing and as far as I know, we have not had any joy on that front,” said Molokele.
Hwende denied the MDC would want to use the money to fund anti-government protests.
“We have not received a cent and it’s true we have been sent from pillar to post by the government. I am aware that Treasury has released the money. However, for some reason, someone has seen it fit to play dirty politics with our share,” said Hwende.
The MDC secretary general said his view was that Zanu-PF wanted to cripple the party’s programmes.
“We use that money to enhance our parliamentary programmes. We employ people to help our legislators and they need to be paid.
“I have been chasing that money for months but there is nothing. The idea in our view is to cripple us. It’s nonsensical for someone to think we will use that money to fund protests. Zimbabweans don’t need money to be organised because they are hungry and angry already,” said Hwende.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo said while he was aware of a statement to the effect that Treasury had released the funds, he was not aware if the ruling party had received it’s share.
“I am aware that there was a statement to the effect that the two parties will receive the funds maybe two months ago but I would not know if we have received. Our secretary for finance Patrick Chinamasa would know better,” said Khaya-Moyo.
Chinamasa was not available for comment. However, party secretary for administration Obert Mpofu said Zanu-PF was yet to receive its share.
“We are waiting for that intervention. We have not received it yet,” said Mpofu.
The Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T in January 2019 petitioned the High Court seeking an order to compel Treasury to pay it over $1,8 million which the party was claiming under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.
Through its legal representatives, Lovemore Madhuku Lawyers, the party recently issued the summons against Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi in his official capacity as a government official responsible for the administration of the Political Parties (Finance) Act.
In the same litigation, the MDC-T also cited Finance and Economic Development minister, Mthuli Ncube in his official capacity as a government official in charge of the Consolidated Revenue Fund set up in terms of section 302 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
According to the MDC-T, the basis for its claim of the money is that in 2018 it contested the general elections during which time it obtained more than 5% of the total votes cast in that election and as a result qualified to be paid money appropriated by Parliament for political parties.
Source – online