June 24, 2022

Funding of political parties: natural resources, a key catalyst

Green governance Zimbabwe Trust
Political party funding remains a cog in the democratization of elections because of its potential to put some parties at the head of the electoral process to the detriment of others.

In cases where the sources of funding for elections are opaque, parties raise illicit funds from foreign investors (through organized investments), individuals and local businesses seeking to “protect” their assets. companies by the ruling party, which could otherwise upset them for non-compliance.

These practices violate the law on the financing of political parties and constitute a threat to democracy and the allegiance that elected officials should ideally have towards the electorate.

The official sources of funding for political parties in Zimbabwe are set out in the Political Party Funding Act (Chapter 2:11), where parties are expected to meet the requirement of 5% of the total number of votes cast in an election. recent election to obtain financial support from the state which says:

“Each political party whose candidates obtained at least 5% of the total number of votes cast in the most recent general election is entitled to the same proportion of the total sums allocated as the total number of votes cast for its candidates for the election is the total number of votes cast for all its candidates in that election.

However, this funding is not sufficient. To top up this paltry amount, parties find themselves siphoning money from the state, businesses or individuals in order to prepare and defend or protect their vote and ensure government control.

The huge financial gap created by parties in elections therefore makes ‘money’ a crucial commodity that affects a party’s potential to mobilize voters, involve communities and convince voters in the process. goal of securing a seat in Parliament.

For the party that controls the government, fundraising for elections is characterized by the abuse of state resources such as schools, government institutions and the electorate to generate financial resources that are funneled for purposes. local and national elections.

As we look forward to the 2023 elections, there is no doubt that the mining sector has once again been tapped to fund the elections as evidenced by the events of the past two years.

The mining sector in its various forms – large-scale, small-scale and artisanal – has been largely infiltrated by the pillars of the ruling party who control the production, administration and trade of minerals.

Although this is done with respect for prejudice, anarchy and impunity, he will assume the responsibility of financing the electoral process of the ruling party in order to obtain protection, reprieve and waivers.

Even more concerning is the nature with which funds are generated within the artisanal mining sector as production, administration and trade can proceed without any trace or history.

It is therefore possible for artisanal miners to produce gold or diamonds, sell them and fund the ruling party during elections to get the protection they so badly need to continue their illicit trade without any written record or proof of corruption.

This fact makes it difficult for the elections to be held under fair conditions because the party in power has all the resources to finance its electoral campaign.

The Center for Natural Resource Governance in the report Mortgage the future in exchange for power – Zimbabwe’s natural resources and the 2018 elections refers to the fact that the country’s mineral resources are mortgaged and used as collateral for illicit “loans” that politicians and political parties receive from businesses and individuals to fund their election campaigns.

The report recalls the case of the Bokai mine, which Zanu PF, via ZMDC, sold for $ 100,000,000 to Billy Rautenbach, who immediately ceded the same mine to CAMEC for $ 175,000,000. CAMEC, in turn, upgraded the same mine. for US $ 1 billion, an increase of US $ 825 million in 30 days.

The citizen’s urgency to monitor the abuse of natural resources during the electoral period is required in order to curb the vote-buying, patronage and neo-patrimonialism associated with elections in Zimbabwe.

It is essential that citizens are urged to stop being used to facilitate the consolidation of power by political parties, but to play a watchdog role to ensure that resources are channeled towards the purpose for which they are intended. intended.