By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been criticised for dishing out state-of-the-art vehicles to members of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), with law experts saying this was a breach of the Political Parties (Finance) Act.
Last Friday, Mnangagwa handed over 19 Isuzu D-Max vehicles to leaders of small political parties which participated in the 2018 presidential election and lost with less than 4% votes.
The vehicles were three years after Zimbabwe held its harmonised elections in which Mnangagwa controversially won with a smaller margin against main opposition MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa.
Chamisa claims that the Zanu PF administration rigged elections and has since snubbed Polad and his party claims that Mnangagwa is not a legitimate leader.
Law expert Alex Magaisa said the donation of vehicles to smaller parties was a breach of the Political Parties Finance Act.
“Government spending public funds to buy vehicles for the co-opted losers in Polad is arguably a breach of the Political Parties (Finance) Act because it is disguised financing of ineligible political parties. None of them qualify to receive public funding under the legislation.
“Under the law, the minimum qualification for a party to receive public funding is that it must have earned at least 5% of the total number of votes cast in the previous election. None of the Polad parties are eligible. Only 2 parties qualified in 2018: ZANU PF and MDC Alliance,” Magaisa said.
Against this background, Magaisa noted that “the highest of the Polad parties was Khupe’s MDC-T with a paltry 3,42% of the national vote. NPF had 1.04%. The rest, including Madhuku’s NCA, had less than 1%. Mnangagwa is using Polad as an avenue to by-pass the law on political funding. This is unethical and illegal.
“The vehicle scheme is an abuse of public funds to reward co-opted politicians. What’s the point of the political financing law if public funds can be channelled to the undeserving through Polad? There are good legal grounds to challenge this breach & abuse of public funds.”
MDC Alliance national spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the 19 vehicles cost US$1,36m and suggested that the money should have been channelled to issues of national development.
“The Polad PF cars cost US$1,36 million. If they cared about the people instead of power, what could that buy? How many classroom blocks could have been built? How many incubators could have been purchased?
“How many ambulances could have been procured? We need new leaders,” she said. Nehanda Radio