Chinamasa refuses to bump up Zec budget

Chinamasa refuses to bump up Zec budget

Source: Chinamasa refuses to bump up Zec budget – DailyNews Live

NEWS EDITOR      7 April 2017

HARARE – Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has rejected an appeal from an
election watchdog which sought permission to petition Parliament on the
“meagre” budget allocation to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for
preparations for the crunch 2018 general elections.

Section 187 (5) of the Standing Rules and Orders of Parliament require
that petitioners on Money Bills seek authority from the Vice President or
Finance minister for permission to proceed.

Money Bills solely concern taxation or government spending.

In a February 3, letter to Chinamasa, the Election Resource Centre (ERC)
said the FinMin’s $9,7 million vote to the Zec was inadequate.

“Your request for permission to petition Parliament to reconsider Zec’s
2017 budget allocation of $9,8 million has been noted,” Chinamasa said in
March 21 reply to ERC seen by the Daily News.

“Please be advised that the budget allocation of $9,8 million, excludes
electoral requirements, and is mostly for administrative purposes.

“With regards to the electoral requirements, Treasury is already in
receipt of Zec’s request for budget support amounting to $42,3 million for
the conduct of the voter registration exercise in 2017. The requirement
will be funded from unallocated reserves in the 2017 approved national
budget and will be availed in line with the Zec’s cash flow plans.

“Furthermore, funding requirements for the conduct of the 2018 harmonised
general elections will be provided by government through the 2018 national
budget.”

As expected, the budget stuck by the broke government’s pledge to live
within its means, offering little in the way of poll preparations –
including nationwide voter registration and related election
administration exercises – despite the looming 2018 election.

This year’s spending plan had an unusually high degree of difficulty as it
effectively doubles as the launch of an unofficial election campaign as
the country hurtles towards the key local government, parliamentary and
presidential elections.

“Considering the work that Zec is constitutionally expected to administer,
it is our view that the resources availed so far are not adequate for the
electoral management body to conduct credible electoral processes,”
Tawanda Chimhini, the ERC executive director said in the letter to
Chinamasa, that was also copied to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa,
the two Vice Presidents Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, the Clerk of
Parliament, the parliamentary portfolio committee on Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, the chief whips of Zanu PF, mainstream MDC and the
smaller MDC.

“Clearly, the budget presented to Zec is not adequate to support the
election roadmap which was recently announced by the commission
chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau.

“Without adequate support, delivery of such key electoral processes like
the impending biometric voter registration, voter education and subsequent
polling is likely to compromise quality and set the ground for undesirable
disputes.”

ERC said elections were a process not an event and therefore require
sufficient preparations and funding.

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