GOVERNMENT has defended its disbursement of opposition funds under the Political Parties Finance Act to the Douglas Mwonzora led-MDC-T, with Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi saying Mwonzora is the leader of the opposition recognized by Government.
Political Parties (Finance) Act [Chapter 2:11] of 2001 provides for the financing of political parties by the State and also prohibits foreign donations to political parties and candidates. Only parties with at least 5% of the votes cast are eligible.
Mwonzora’s party was on Friday given $59 940 000 by the government while Zanu PF got a whopping $140 million. The funds are given to parties with a sizeable representation in Parliament based on the outcome of the previous general election.
The MDC Alliance cried foul that Mwonzora was given the funds, with Nelson Chamisa’s secretary for presidential affairs, Jameson Timba, insisting there was a High Court ruling barring the release of the funds to either of the MDC factions before their dispute was resolved by the courts.
“There is a High Court judgment that says the money must not be distributed to anyone until the legal dispute is resolved,” Timba told the Standard. “Zanu PF needs to keep its surrogate funded in the same way Renamo was funded by the Rhodesians to fight and tire Zanla forces before they crossed over to fight the Rhodesians.”
But Ziyambi said Timba was a liar and Mwonzora was the official opposition leader as far as court rulings are concerned.
“They (MDC Alliance) lost the case, there is no such ruling barring government from releasing money to the MDC-T. If they have the ruling, can they show you?” Ziyambi said.
“Mwonzora is what we know. If they have any claim, they should go and make the claim to him because he is the one we gave. We know the leader of the opposition is Mwonzora.”
“The disbursement was done in February and parties wrote asking for supplementary budgets, citing changed circumstances.
“(Patrick) Chinamasa (Zanu PF) wrote and Paurina Mupariwa (MDC-T) also wrote and I attached a support letter to the minister of Finance. He approved it and released the funds.
“The mere reason that the MDC Alliance did not write asking for the funds shows that they know that they are not entitled to it.”
Commenting on the same matter, Mwonzora’s spokesperson Lloyd Damba said the disbursement of the money by government was transparent.
“Allocation of funds under the Political Parties Finance Act is not something which is new,” Damba said. “Political parties have always been benefiting from the Act, including Chamisa.
“Why would they make a fuss now when Douglas Mwonzora is now the beneficiary? After all, the fund is being allocated in a transparent manner, in line with the dictates of the constitution.
“Chamisa and his allies should know that these are the consequences of failing to respect the court orders and the constitution of the MDC-T, which they disregarded and pursued politics of individualism.”
Next year, and the year after, the same formula will be applied and Mwonzora’s party will continue receiving these funds, until at least 2023.