LEGAL think tank, Veritas has expressed shock at the lack of transparency and accountability on funds allocated to political parties ahead of this year’s general elections.
In Zimbabwe, political parties are partly financed by the State through the Political Parties (Finance) Act.
Section 3(3) of the Act directs that political parties whose candidates get at least 5% of all the votes cast in a general election are entitled to receive funding from the State.
In its weekly edition titled: No Transparency or Accountability in Financing of Political Parties, Veritas noted its reservations saying: “There is currently no provision under the Political Parties (Finance) Act or the Electoral Act for candidates or political parties to keep proper accounts of their expenditure during elections, or to disclose the sources of their funding.
“Section 8 of the Political Parties (Finance) Act permits the Minister of Justice to make regulations providing for the form and manner in which political parties must keep records of donations; the keeping of proper books of account by political parties, the audit of their accounts and the publication of their statements of accounts. Successive ministers have failed to make any such regulations, however, so political parties have never had to declare publicly how much they have raised in funds, or from whom, or what the funds were used for.”
Veritas said this silence on publicly declaring donations and revealing the donors can potentially increase the chances of State capture.
“If party donors remain unknown outsiders cannot assess whether or to what extent they are influencing the party’s policies and, in the case of donations to the ruling party, outsiders cannot assess whether persons who get public contracts are being rewarded for their donations,” Veritas said.
The legal think tank said these problems need to be resolved if Zimbabwe is to become a true multi-party democracy.
The ministry of justice was allocated $2,5 billion for political parties under the Political Parties (Finance) Act ahead of the country’s 2023 polls.