George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
The embattled MDC-Alliance led by Mr Nelson Chamisa has failed to pay more than 50 000 people it hired as polling agents for last year’s harmonised elections throughout the country.
The development has fuelled speculation that the opposition party is facing a serious cash squeeze, casting doubt over its ability to single-handedly finance a pending national congress to choose new party leaders.
The congress is scheduled for May.
The MDC-Alliance was drubbed in the polls after its presidential candidate Mr Chamisa garnered 44,3 percent of the vote, against President Mnangagwa of Zanu-PF who garnered 50,6 percent.
In the National Assembly, the ruling party attained two thirds majority with 180 seats compared to the MDC-A’s 87.
President Mnangagwa’s victory in the presidential ballot was upheld by the Constitutional Court after Mr Chamisa disputed the result on allegations of rigging.
Mr Chamisa failed to prove his allegations in court. Almost nine months after the watershed polls, MDC-A polling agents are yet to be paid and are up in arms with Mr Chamisa. They accuse the MDC leader of dumping and neglecting them after losing last year’s polls.
Some of them who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity said they felt betrayed by Mr Chamisa for not making sure they were paid their dues.
In Masvingo, the party hired more than 6 000 polling agents. MDC provincial chair Mr James Gumbi yesterday said the party’s polling agents in last year’s polls countrywide were still to be paid.
“It is not a problem (non-payment of polling agents) that is peculiar to Masvingo province, it is a nationwide problem, no polling agent has been paid to date, but I am quite sure the leadership is working on the issue,” said Mr Gumbi.
He said Mr Chamisa had promised party members in an address at a recent party provincial assembly meeting in Masvingo that money to pay the agents had been secured.
“The president (Mr Chamisa) said the money was now there, but it will not be paid to agents through the provincial structures, but will go directly to the EcoCash or bank accounts of the agents,” said Mr Gumbi.
Most opposition parties are notorious for not paying people they hire as polling agents as they either fold or sink into oblivion after elections.