Zim 'needs $200m' for fresh polls

Zimbabwe will need $200-million to hold polls next year if leaders insist on meeting unity-deal timeframes, media reported on Wednesday.

Fresh elections are due in 2011 under the power-sharing pact signed two years ago by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The “200-million would be required for two elections [including parliamentary polls]”, Finance Minister Tendai Biti was quoted as saying by the state-run Herald newspaper.

Biti said a decision on elections lay with Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who formed a compromise government last year to pave the way for fresh polls after a bloody presidential run-off election in which Mugabe was the sole candidate.

Lack of funding
Zimbabwe’s electoral commission indicated last week that it will not be able to draw up a clean voters’ roll and organise elections next year because of lack of funding.

Electoral reforms are also needed for credible polls, it said.

Parliament is to amend electoral laws to speed up the announcement of results and create a system for reporting political violence before the new polls.

The parties also agreed to draft a new constitution before the next elections but a drive to gather suggestions for the new charter has been marred by reports of intimidation.

Under the power-sharing deal, Zimbabwe was meant to draft a new constitution and put it to a referendum by November 2010, with new elections by February 2011.—Sapa-AFP


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