MDC-T EcoCash donations disappear

via MDC-T EcoCash donations disappear – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 11, 2015 by Richard Chidza

AN UNDISCLOSED sum of money probably running into thousands of dollars in contributions made by ordinary and executive members of the opposition MDC-T has reportedly disappeared into thin air.

Early this year the opposition party, faced with a crippling financial crisis, appealed to its membership to make donations ranging from $1 for ordinary members to $50 for National Executive Council members. The MDC-T suffered a massive dip in donor support following its humiliating loss to Zanu PF in the 2013 harmonised elections and the subsequent split last April.

Insiders told NewsDay the cash whose amount was not ascertained could not be accounted for.

“The money was being channelled through an EcoCash number (a mobile money transfer service run by Econet Wireless) registered in the name of Edith Muyaka (party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s private secretary) and now nobody has the faintest idea of how much was raised or where the money has gone. Nobody has summoned the guts to ask because it is a very sensitive matter,” an impeccable source said.

So deep were the financial troubles at the MDC-T that insiders claim the opposition movement has failed to honour its salary obligations to employees as well as normal day-to-day operations.

MDC-T treasurer-general Theresa Makone was not available for comment. After earlier promising to attend to the query around lunch time on Thursday she resorted to dropping calls. Makone had by yesterday not responded to a message sent to her phone regarding the issue. Makone according to a senior party official who spoke on condition of anonymity “dragged Tsvangirai” to address workers on the issue of their salaries.

“Makone asked the president to address party employees before making an undertaking that the party had enough money to cater for their salaries for the six months to December. However she is now avoiding workers and cannot explain why the party has not paid June salaries,” NewsDay heard.

Makone’s deputy Chalton Hwende claimed the issue was beyond his “constitutional mandate”.

“Unfortunately I cannot help you with this issue which clearly is outside my constitutional mandate, you will need to speak to Mr Gutu for official party business or Luke (Tamborinyoka) for presidential issues,” Hwende who is reportedly outside the country, said.

Tamborinyoka was also not available for comment. Party spokesperson Obert Gutu seemed unimpressed when contacted for comment.

“I am the MDC-T national spokesperson and not the treasurer-general. As such, I cannot speak on matters that are fully within the domain of the party treasury department. I suggest that you liaise with our treasurer-general or her deputy,” Gutu retorted.

Ironically it was Hwende before he was elected deputy treasurer-general in October last year, who was at the forefront of the campaign to “finish what we started”.

“By sending just $1 to the EcoCash account number above, always remember you are taking part in a journey to real change,” part of the advertisement begging for local funding from activists, members and well-wishers said then.

Hwende in April took to social networking site Facebook to push for the appeal that he christened “Action 4Real Change” campaign.

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has in the past admitted the financial problems but blamed the ruling Zanu PF party and in particular the government for withholding the MDC-T’s share of funds under the Political Parties Finance Act.

The MDC-T turned to its structures for funding in order to be “self-sufficient” as opposed to depending entirely on donor funding, something that has tainted the opposition movement and confused its ideological path.

According to the party, sitting MPs were under the scheme required to part with a once-off payment of $100 per year, while National Executive Council members would contribute $50 each.

Local councillors would pay $10 each while ordinary members would contribute $1 each towards the party’s cause.

Things came to a head following last year’s split engineered by then secretary-general Tendai Biti and purse-man Elton Mangoma, the second inside a decade amid growing rumours that the MDC-T is literally broke.