By Nkosana Dlamini
Zimbabwean taxpayers have to foot a $3 billion bill to finance the March 26 by-elections occasioned by massive recalls on sitting parliamentarians and councillors by the Douglas Mwonzora led MDC-T past two years.
This comes after Treasury is said to have disbursed $3 billion to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to finance the poll.
“We have been given enough funds for the by-elections, we were allocated 3 billion for the exercise; so everything is in place,” ZEC spokesperson Joyce Kazembe said.
There are a total of 133 elective vacancies, which comprise 28 parliamentary seats and 105 council seats emanating from recalls, deaths and dismissals.
The majority of the seats fell vacant following recalls on representatives elected on an MDC Alliance ticket in the 2018 harmonised elections.
The recalls were a culmination of a fierce power wrangle pitting former allies Nelson Chamisa – now leader of the newly formed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) – and Mwonzora, whose faction was granted rights to the opposition party’s empire when opposition squabbles spilled into the national courts in 2020.
At least 16 political parties are set to contest the by-elections.
However, apart from the cost to be incurred by the taxpayer in financing the poll, individual parties and candidates have had to spend a fortune during campaigns and printing of regalia.
There will not be time to rest either for the parties as the campaign period for the 2023 harmonised elections is almost near.