LOCAL elections watchdog Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has dismissed claims by the ruling party Zanu PF that it is putting together a US$10 million donation to train political party agents for the August 23 polls.
This comes after ZANU PF had dared opposition parties Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and MDC to accept the alleged foreign donation for the training of 12 500 Election Agents ordering law enforcement agents to monitor flow of funds into Zimbabwe.
The ruling party’s Treasurer General Patrick Chinamasa claimed the package was meant to service all political parties, but Zanu PF had since turned down the offer saying the donation is illegal and a direct interference in Zimbabwe’s electoral processes.
“It has come to the notice of the Zanu PF Department of Finance that the UK, France, Australia, USAID, Sweden, Japan, the US Embassy in Harare, the USA based National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the EU, USA and UK funded Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and Elections Resource Centre (ERC) have announced that they are putting together a donation US$10m for the training of 12 500 Election Agents for each of the Political Parties participating in the forthcoming Harmonised Elections.
“I wish to make it abundantly clear that such an offer of funding is illegal and in direct violation of Section 6 of the Political Parties (Finance Act). ZANU PF calls upon all Political Parties in Zimbabwe including CCC and MDC-A not to accept this offer of funding as that will be in violation of the Political Parties (Finance) Act,” said Chinamasa.
Chapter 2:11 of the Political Parties (Finance Act) provides that no political party, member of a political party or candidate shall accept any foreign donation whether directly from a donor or through a third person
In a statement released Thursday, ZESN refuted the allegations saying financing and endorsing political parties was not a part of its core business or mandate.
“ZESN would like to categorically state that it does not train political party agents and has not received donor funding for the purposes of training any political party agents or candidates.
“ZESN therefore pursues its work guided by the Zimbabwe Constitutional dictates, the Electoral Act, the ZEC Code of Conduct for Observers and its values and principles as an independent and non-partisan organisation. Further, the Network observes and is guided by SADC Principles and Guidelines on the Conduct of Democratic Elections and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) which Zimbabwe is signatory to.
“ZESN reiterates that it does not and will not finance and or train any political party agents as this is not part of its core business and mandate, neither does ZESN support or endorse any political party or candidate in Zimbabwe,” reads part of the statement.