Zimbabwean laws forbid foreign funding but provide for state support to political parties represented in Parliament. “When we get money from the Chinese, what is wrong with that? That did not in any way affect the election results, so where is all this noise coming from?” asked party spokesman Rugare Gumbo.
“We have every right to get funding for our political programming, no matter where that comes from. Why should they (MDC-T) make noise about us getting funding from the Chinese when they go to the British and Americans to ask for money to sponsor their activities?”
Apart from Chinese support, the party received an additional $85 million from Democratic Republic of the Congo and $92 million from Equatorial Guinea.
Section 6 of the Act says that “no political party, member of a political party or candidate shall accept any foreign donation, whether directly from the donor or indirectly through a third person”.
The Act further states that political parties or their members or candidates who contravene the law would be fined the equivalent to the market value of the donation or any amount set out in the attending schedule, provided it is not less than the former.
Gumbo, in an interview with The Zimbabwean, said there was no need to raise alarm over the issue as foreign funding as it was not unique to his party. China was among the first countries to endorsed results of Zimbabwe’s July 31 elections.
The main contestant, the MDC-T, disputed the poll outcome, charging that the election was marred by numerous irregularities which allowed for widespread rigging. Civil society throughout Africa, as well as The European Union, the United States and other Western countries refused to recognise the outcome, saying the process was flawed.
Leaked documents in possession of The Zimbabwean show that the Chinese Community Party played a major role in advising Zanu (PF) how to rig the elections. The documents show that Sino Zim Chairman, Sam Pa, pledged to assist Zanu (PF) with campaign regalia comprising two million t-shirts and a corresponding number of caps and bandanas.
According to the documents, Democratic Republic of the Congo President, Joseph Kabila, donated $85 million, while Equatorial Guinea’s President, Obiang Nguema made a $92 million donation towards the Zanu (PF) campaign. Kabila attended Mugabe’s inauguration ceremony last month.
Local donors highlighted in the documents include diamond firms, Mbada Diamonds and Anjin, which gave a combined $800 million for transport and mobilisation.
Zanu (PF) Secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa, admitted that his party was broke ahead of the elections but denied claims that the Chinese government came to his party’s rescue.
He said Zanu (PF) had to rely on finances from individuals within the party to bankroll its campaign programmes, but also added that there was nothing wrong with Zanu (PF) getting its campaign regalia from China as the party “paid for the order”.
“We did not receive money for elections from anybody. When we went for the elections, we had no money but whatever we did, we did it using money from our own individual resources. All the Zanu (PF) candidates who won were using their personal resources and did not get financial support from anyone else.
“If the Chinese did anything with regards to the regalia, that was an order which was paid for. This order could have been made anywhere else in the world,” said Mutasa, dismissing as baseless allegations that his party rigged the elections with the backing of the Chinese government.
A prominent Harare lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Zanu (PF)’s action was illegal but admitted that prosecution could be made difficult due to interference in the justice system by politicians.
“Foreign funding of political parties is unlawful in Zimbabwe and if that happens, it means that the country funding the party is being used for political malpractices that taint the election and its outcome.
“But the problem with regards to prosecution could be that they might not be tangible evidence because most of these deals would be shrouded in secrecy and also because of interference by politicians in the justice system. But it has to be noted that those providing the funding are doing so in the hope of getting certain favours if the party they are funding wins the election,” said the lawyer.
Another lawyer, who declined to be named for professional reasons, said Zanu (PF) had for long operated above the law and there was therefore little hope that action would be taken against the party even if it was found to be in contravention of the Act.
“They can’t prosecute themselves. They have a two thirds majority in Parliament and they appoint the National Prosecuting Authority. They have never prosecuted themselves when they committed crimes against humanity in 2008 and that would be the same case regarding this issue,” said the lawyer.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson, Thabani Nyoni, who is also a lawyer, said Zanu (PF)’s admission to receiving foreign funding exposed the party’s double standards as it had in the past accused MDC-T and civil society of depending on foreign donations.
“Zanu (PF) has accused civil society organisations of being Western funded. Worse still, they have been in overdrive accusing the West of funding the MDC-T to push for regime change and interfering in our affairs. If they now say there is nothing wrong with them getting funding from China, does this also mean that China is interfering with our internal processes?” he asked.Post published in: News