|Govt mulls withdrawing polls funding request|
|Thursday, 07 March 2013 19:26|
Zimbabwe is considering withdrawing its request for election funding
from the United Nations Development Programme after the body came up with an avalanche of conditions for Government to access the assistance.
Zimbabwe, through Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa, recently wrote to the UN requesting money to bankroll the referendum and the forthcoming harmonised elections.
The UN, however, came up with a list of unsustainable pre-requisites for Zimbabwe to get the funding.
In its response on February 15 titled UN Electoral Needs Assessment Mission (NAM) to Zimbabwe, the global body resolved to set up a team led by a member of the UN Electoral Assistance Division Tadjoudine Ali Diabacte to come and assess the political situation in Zimbabwe.
Of particular importance is the request by the UN to allow the team to have a host of meetings with various groups and personalities in Zimbabwe.
“Meetings are to be held with a wide range of interlocutors and include a representative sample of election stakeholders drawn from the UN system, Government authorities, electoral authorities, political parties, legislature, judicial authorities, media, women’s groups, civil society, law enforcement agencies, international community including accredited diplomatic missions, domestic and international observer groups, other assistance providers, commentators, Sadc representatives, minority groups and the electorate,” reads part of the response.
UNDP also suggested for the postponement of the referendum saying: “Given the short time between the request and the date of the referendum, the NAM will not be in a position to make recommendations that can be implemented before the referendum.”
UNDP said the NAM team would work closely with the UN resident coordinator.
“In close coordination with the resident coordinator, the NAM will assess the following — political, legal, technical and security environment and electoral framework, including voter registration procedures/processes.
“Capacity and needs of election stakeholders and in particular the electoral management body or bodies, including budgetary requirements,” reads part of the UN response.
The UN also wanted, among other issues, to assess the sustainability and cost effectiveness of the requested electoral assistance and potential for election related violence.
Government sources, however, said the conditions by the UN smacks of donor interests and not obligations of the world body to member states.
They indicated that the information had since been formally communicated to the Government.
“Given the wide remit of involvement which is being demanded by Western donor countries in the name of the United Nations, it is most likely that Zimbabwe will withdraw its request for funding.
“It is clear that Zimbabwe’s financial difficulties have become a thin end of a wedge for long known vested interests.
“It amounts to a UN supervised election akin to that of 1980 and by doing that Zimbabwe will become a UN matter as was sought in 2008.
“Zimbabwe has provided donors with the pretext they were looking for,” said the source.
Another source said the UN was treating Zimbabwe like a country that was running elections for the first time.
The source said demands by the UN had exposed Finance Minister Tendai Biti who insisted on approaching the international community to get election funding.
“After all the request came from Minister Biti who is also the MDC-T secretary general. Now we know there was an ulterior motive. With the way things are going in Kenya, the apparent defeat of the West’s political peer Raila Odinga we should expect more mischief in the name of funding,” said the source.
This comes at a time when the British Government have been accused of prejudging Zimbabwe’s forthcoming harmonised elections.
British ambassador to Zimbabwe Deborah Bronnert on Tuesday claimed that Zimbabwe’s elections would not be free and fair if the EU was not invited.
However, the Zimbabwean Government said the EU and the United States of America would not be invited to observe elections here as long as they maintain illegal sanctions on the country.