Only Zanu PF and MDC-T will share the $100 million allocated in the 2021 National Budget under the Political Parties Finance Act as all other parties failed to get at least five percent of the constituency votes in the 2018 election.
The $25 million budget of last year was quadrupled to $100 million in this year’s budget to help compensate for inflation. The constituent parties that made up the MDC-Alliance are treated separately for the purposes of sharing the money, which is why only the largest, the MDC-T, exceeded the five percent threshold.
In an interview yesterday, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said he hoped that the money will be disbursed early by Treasury to allow political parties to carry out their activities.
“The money will be shared by political parties that are in Parliament that meet the legal requirements of the law. It is our hope that Treasury disburses the money early so that the political parties concerned will be able to carry out their duties. We will obviously engage Treasury with regard to that issue,” said Minister Ziyambi.
He said only Zanu PF and MDC-T were entitled to get the share of the money because they meet the legal threshold provided for under the Political Parties Finance Act.
The Act provides that only a political party that garnered at least five percent of total votes in a general election qualify for the money.
This leaves People’s Democratic Party led by Tendai Biti under the MDC-Alliance falling short of the threshold with its four legislators in the National Assembly.
The four legislators from PDP include, Mr Biti (Harare East), Willias Madzimure (Kambuzuma) Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo) and Kucaca Phulu (Nkulumane.)
Zanu PF got 145 seats of the 210 in the National Assembly against MDC-Alliance’s 63.
The remaining two seats went to National Patriotic Front’s Masango “Blackman” Masango, who is now late as well as Norton MP Mr Temba Mliswa. The seats of the MDC-T were further whittled down after it recalled about 21 MPs holding geographical constituencies which will further diminish the money the opposition should proportionately get.
Government promulgated the Political Parties Finance Act after it emerged that some opposition parties were getting funding from hostile Western nations.
Under that law, it is criminal for political parties to receive foreign funding.
Political parties should get money from the Government if they meet the legal threshold of votes in a general election which is at least five percent of total votes cast.
They can also get funding from their members, selling party cards and fundraising activities.
During the year, MDC-T led by the then acting president Dr Thokozani Khupe recalled some of its legislators in terms of a constitutional provision that allowed a political party to do so should it feel that the legislator concerned no longer represents its interest in the august House.
At the heart of the dispute within the opposition is whether the MPs and senators elected under the MDC-Alliance umbrella belong to the party that nominated them on the MDC-Alliance list, or belong to the MDC-Alliance which regards itself as a political party in its own right.
So far decisions in the High Court have ruled that the MDC-A is an umbrella organisation.