Cash-strapped Zimbabwe needs US$274 million for 2018 election

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will need $274 million to finance the 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections, in which President Robert Mugabe plans to contest.

Zimbabwe is suffering severe cash shortages and Mr. Mugabe’s government is struggling to pay its workers on time while many businesses can’t fund the imports they need.

Rita Makarau, the commission’s chairperson, told a parliamentary committee that she was confident the national treasury would make the money available.

“A consolidated budget requirement has since been submitted to treasury for funding in the sum of 274 million dollars,” said Mr. Makarau, adding that a new voter register would be completed by December.

Mr. Mugabe, 94, has been in power since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980 and is bidding for another five-year term, his last allowed under the constitution.

Elections should be held not more than 30 days before August 22, 2018 unless parliament elects to dissolve itself, which would trigger an early vote, the constitution states.

On July 12, Zimbabwean police sprayed tear gas and fired water cannon at opposition supporters protesting against what they say is the slow pace of electoral reforms ahead of 2018 polls.


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