(Last Updated on February 24, 2013 by Editor)
ZIMBABWE – The Government has raised enough funds for the constitutional referendum scheduled for March 16 while the Constitution Select Committee (Copac) is expected to launch aggressive campaigns for the Draft Constitution tomorrow.
In an interview last night, Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the money was sourced locally. Although the amount could not be established immediately, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has pegged the referendum budget at US$85 million.
It is understood the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through which Government had hoped to raise additional funds, also informed authorities last week that it was unable to provide money for the constitutional poll because the funding request was submitted late.
“We can safely say that there is enough money that has been raised locally to finance the referendum. The referendum will not be stopped because of lack of money,” said Chinamasa.
“The President has gazetted the date for the referendum through the powers vested in him. So, the only thing left now is to hold a successful poll.”
Finance Minister Mr Tendai Biti concurred, saying enough financial resources have been secured. Mr Biti said the referendum would proceed as scheduled since the funds were raised locally, adding that the UNDP could not chip in because Government submitted its funding request to the UN agency late.
“We are raising the resources for the referendum, which is going to be held next month, domestically. One needs to realise that we are doing it on our own,” he said.
“The UNDP wrote to us that we submitted our budgets a bit late. So, they will not be able to meet the timeline because of some bureaucratic procedures. I think they are going to fund the actual election, but this time we are going it alone.”
In an interview yesterday, Copac co-chair Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said awareness campaigns on the Draft Constitution will begin tomorrow. “We are going to kickstart our awareness campaign throughout the country on Monday (tomorrow) so that Zimbabweans know what it is they are going to vote for.
“We have already started the process of summarising the Draft by placing advertisements in the Press so that people will know what they are going to vote for.”
A fortnight ago, the inclusive Government principals set up a three-member Cabinet committee to fundraise for the referendum. The committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, was mandated to source the money locally by roping in the private sector.