MDC panics over US$1 billion IMF disbursement

By Nkosana Dlamini

MDC Alliance has raised fears the $961 million IMF disbursement entrusted into the hands of the Zanu PF led government could be diverted to oil the ruling party’s election machinery with eyes now firmly set on a potentially watershed 2023 poll.

Government announced Wednesday the global financial institution has disbursed the amount in the form of special drawing rights and are aimed at increasing liquidity across the global economies.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said this week the funds will be used to shore up the country’s unstable currency.

MDC Alliance has been quick to set alarm bells ringing, given the Zanu PF led administration’s murky history of diverting public funds for often partisan use or looting by corrupt public officials.

The just ended Zambian election won resoundingly by an opposition politician is thought to have caused unease within the Zanu PF led administration next door amid fears the victory could galvanise Zimbabwe’s opposition to perform a similar feat.

For that, MDC feels this could be enough inducement for Zimbabwe’s power-hungry rulers to misappropriate the funds to serve elite interests.

Said MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere in a statement Thursday, “Zanu PF, given a bit of fiscal space, heading towards an election is likely to use the money for electioneering if not held to account.

“The past is replete with examples of how the regime misuses funds to fund election campaigns. The current levels of corruption in the country and our unsustainable debt is precisely what the IMF is warning against.

“The risk of misuse is very high. At the same time the precarious macro-economic environment which requires attention could be delayed. no reason to believe this time it will be any different.”

In its statement, MDC Alliance said the funds must be channelled towards the cause of ordinary citizens.

“As a government-in-waiting, our priority is to be vigilant and call for transparency and stronger scrutiny of how the SDR’s will be disbursed. They must be used for the benefit of the people and not be looted by political elites. Safety nets must be availed to the poor,” Mahere said.

She added, “We call for the Auditor-General’s office to be further capacitated to audit, monitor and report timeously to the people of Zimbabwe on how these funds are being disbursed. We further urge journalists and citizens to be alert and expose corruption wherever it manifests and to demand accountability.

“By holding the government to account, we will ensure the SDR’s reaches the intended vulnerable members of our society and be used in the fight against Covid-19.”