The ruling Zanu-PF party’s relationship with Asian economic giant, China, should be investigated to see if the ruling party is not flouting the country’s laws, opposition parties have urged.
The reactions come two weeks after Zanu-PF national chairperson Simon Khaya-Moyo met with a delegation from the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and thanked them “for the support you rendered during last year’s harmonised elections”.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed the former liberation movement constantly received support from the Communist Party of China.
“Relations imply material support and could also imply financial support if there is need for that,” said Gumbo.
“However, as far as we know, the CPC does not give money but when they promise to support, the money may be converted into different materials.”
“Last time we asked for support in the media area and we are still to receive what was promised, despite the relations we have with them”.
Opposition NCA leader and constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said Zanu-PF’s behaviour should be condemned.
“It must be understood that the issue of funding of political parties whether from foreigners or internal institutions has far-reaching implications on the political architecture of a country. Those who have access to resources first have uninhibited access to the electorate and that has a bearing on the electoral outcome,” said Madhuku.
“Secondly, it must be noted that political parties funding has a huge bearing on policy formulation in the post-election period. Hence Zanu-PF’s ‘Look East Policy’ should be investigated because they could be carting away the country’s resources for a song.”
MDC-renewal faction spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said although Zanu-PF was “parroting nationalistic values by day” they practice the opposite “under cover of darkness”.
“The position of the law is that no party should receive foreign funding or assistance. We would urge law enforcement agencies to follow up the Zanu-PF confessions.
“However, we all know that it would not happen and that exposes the hypocrisy of the ruling elite,” said Mafume.
In a report on political parties financing in Zimbabwe, electoral watchdog, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) called for the reform of the law regulating the funding of political parties.
ERC is a think tank and advocacy institution on democracy and elections. In its research paper titled Political Party Finance-Which way for Zimbabwe, said all political parties in Zimbabwe should have access to non-monetary state resources.
According to the ERC, political party financing refers to financial resources or money that is provided to political parties, in-between or during election periods, to cover different political activities such as electoral campaign costs and day-to-day functions.
“The state resources can be in the form of public media and infrastructure like public halls and school halls. This would make sure that not only governing parties would benefit over other political parties on access to state resources,” reads part of the paper.
The election watchdog, insisted on the setting up of an independent regulatory body away from government bureaucracy to administer the Political Parties Finance Act, “because the current scenario in which the ministry of Justice is in charge nourishes suspicions of bias since the department is headed by an interested party.”
“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) should play a central role in regulating political party finances based on their constitutional obligation to be independent arbiters of electoral processes and associated players,” the group said.
“There is need to effectively monitor the inflow of funding to political parties so as to eliminate foreign funding and also to minimise abuse of funds meant for other political parties by the incumbents.”
In Zimbabwe, political parties receive public funding, regulated by the Political Parties Finance Act of 2001, which prohibits foreign funding but mandates the state to fund the operations of political parties who garnered at least 5% of the vote in the preceding election for every parliamentary year.