By Tichaona Sibanda
13 March 2013
The government has invited the United Nations to send its team to Harare to assess the country’s financial needs to fund the forthcoming elections, most likely to be held in July this year.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said that following discussions and consultations between government ministries, President Mugabe had agreed that they should send out an invitation to the UN to help with funding for the poll.
‘The intervention of the UN and international bodies is critical to fund the general election,’ said Biti, who admitted Zimbabwe had no capacity to fund the elections using its own resources.
The government initially wrote to the UN in February, requesting funding for the referendum and elections. But the continental body wrote back stating it was late to help with funds for Saturday’s vote.
However, for elections, the UN sent back detailed terms of reference, which the government has been studying for weeks. The UN said any form of assistance must be preceded by a formal request from the Member State.
In providing electoral assistance, the UN manual book on providing funding for a general election is clear that the assessment team has to meet all stakeholders before a decision can be made.
SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that no other strings have been attached by the UN for funding, except to allow the assessment team to have direct contact with political parties, ZEC, civil society and law enforcement agencies.
‘This visit and engagement allow the UN to determine whether it can provide the assistance requested, to suggest options, to identify the most appropriate implementing agency and to provide useful information to the Government as to how and when such assistance could be provided,’ a source said.