Political Reporter- Simba Moyo

When the ruling party ZANU PF acquired it’s fleet of cars to be used in the election campaigns, it sent tongues waggling among citizens, as to where it got all that money, let alone when the government said it was going to fund the acquiring of BVR kits, the same questions were raised.

The government, in a last-minute move, ditched the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the procurement of biometric voters’ roll (BVR) kits, preferring to do this on its own instead of through the UN agency.

UNDP was supposed to fund the programme to the tune of US$200 million.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, said after the tendering process held by UNDP, the government had decided that it would now buy the kits using its own resources.

Addressing the media soon after the declaration by government to do it alone, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the move ZANU PF was to arm-twist the process so that it rigs the elections.

Be that as it may, many people are still asking where the cash strapped government is going to get the money from. One analyst had this to say; “When we were using Zimbabwean dollar Mugabe could tell Gideon Gono to print more money to fund elections, but this time around, I wander where is going to get the money from?”

Meanwhile, the country is reported to have raked in US$300 million from tobacco exports, and what boggles the mind is that none of that amount have been given to farmers, rendering slaves for having had worked for nothing.

According to the latest statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), tobacco worth $280 million has been auctioned so far. In the same period last year, 77 million kg of tobacco was sold, raising $220 million by mid May this year.

Tobacco sales have increased by 29,74% to 100 million kg as compared to 77 million kg auctioned last year, with contract farming system have handled 80,8 million kg, while the auction system has recorded 19 million kg.

Where is the money going, many are asking.

One angry farmer Maidei Chechu, told this paper, when we recently visited one of the auction floors that he is made to believe that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is withholding the money so that Mugabe would use it to fund pending elections.

“We are now his slaves, we work for nothing while he uses our money to fund his projects. This is why he is adamant that he has the money to buy BVR, stopping the resource rich UNDP to fund the procurement of the kits,” she said.

#ThisFlag leader pastor Evan Mawarire recently told a press briefing that the government is stealing people’s monies to fund its programmes.

“People sleep in bank queues, after they had faithfully came with their tobacco to the auctions for sale ‘only to be surprisingly taxed’, and still spend weeks trying to get their money out whilst their families starve, yet the government had been paid for that same tobacco,” he says.

Meanwhile a prominent Mashonaland Central based political commentator, Elder Mabhunu says it is now clear that the government is taking the money from tobacco sales to fund the elections.

“It is now clear to any sensible man, that Mugabe will use the farmers’ monies to fund for elections. There is no other place where he can get the money from, since Zim dollar was decommissioned, he cannot print, so his only way out is robbing people of their cash,” he says.

Responding to the matter in parliament, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the his government had not high-jacked the BVR kits for the 2018 elections, as it remains under the control of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), but, is only funding the process. This raised the same question as to where is the money going to come from?