Mwonzora’s MDC Alliance set for $60 million govt windfall

By Nkosana Dlamini

Douglas Mwonzora’s MDC Alliance is set to receive nearly $60 million in government funds disbursed under the Political Parties Finance Act, much to the dismay of rivals in the Nelson Chamisa led MDC Alliance formation who feel short-changed by the decision.

According to a Government Gazette issued Friday by Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, both Zanu PF and MDC ‘Alliance’ will share $200 million, with the ruling party set to receive the lion’s share from the amount.

Reads the Gazette, “It is hereby notified, in terms of subsection (2) of subsection 3 of the Political Parties (Finance) Act (Chapter 2:11), that the total amount of money payable to political parties in respect of the year beginning 1st January, 2021, and ending 31st December, 2021 is two hundred million dollars.

“The money shall be disbursed to political parties that qualify in terms of subsection (3) of the Act as follows – (a) one hundred and forty million and sixty thousand dollars ($140 060 000.00) shall be paid to the Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) ZANU (PF) which received 70.03% of the votes cast; and (b) fifty-nine million nine hundred and forty thousand dollars ($59 940 000.00) shall be paid to the Movement for Democratic Change – ALLIANCE (MDC-A) which received 29.97% of the total vote cast.”

Under the Political Parties Finance Act, any party that makes the 5% vote threshold in an election is eligible to receive government funding.

The law was enacted in attempts to prevent political parties from sourcing funding from outsiders to run their operations.

But it is the decision to target the amount into Mwonzora led MDC Alliance faction coffers that has renewed tensions within the opposition camp with Chamisa’s MDC claiming they should be the rightful recipients of the amount.

MDC Alliance (Chamisa)’s treasurer general David Coltart described it as a “brazen heist”.

“This is a brazen heist of taxpayers’ money and a total breach of the Political Parties Finance Act. That money should have come into the bank account controlled by me as the elected Treasurer General of the MDC Alliance, not the account controlled by Mashakada who lost to me,” he said on Twitter.

Mwonzora’s MDC has escalated the tussle for the name, MDC Alliance in what the faction’s opposition rivals claim was calculated at positioning itself to receiving the government funds.

In a statement Friday, Mwonzora and his MDC Alliance insisted they were the rightful MDC Alliance and warned rivals to stop “forthwith” the “abuse” of the name.

Zanu PF recognises Mwonzora’s MDC as the official opposition party in what is widely viewed as an attempt by the Zimbabwe incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa to weaken the challenge by his main opponent, Chamisa.