The embattled Citizens Coalition for Change led by Mr Nelson Chamisa has failed to pay more than 45 000 people it hired as polling agents for the August 23 harmonised elections throughout the country.
The development has fuelled speculation that the opposition party is facing a serious cash squeeze amid revelations that more than US $3 million that was donated by the European Union set aside for their allowances was misappropriated by some party officials.
The Citizens Coalition for Change was drubbed in the polls after its presidential candidate Mr Chamisa garnered 44,03 percent of the vote, against President Mnangagwa of Zanu-PF who garnered 52.60% percent.
Although the party’s national spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi, said the matter has not been brought to the party’s attention, the party’s interim organising secretary Mr Amos Chibaya, confirmed they are looking for funds to pay election agents who worked for them in the polls.
Chibaya said at least 45 000 agents were affected and investigations revealed that the party’s treasury department had mishandled the funds.
Mkwananzi said if it was true that the funds were indeed misappropriated, the party has mechanisms to deal with such matters.
Some of the disgruntled polling agents who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity said they felt betrayed by Mr Chamisa for not making sure they were paid their dues while some threaten to take legal action. Each polling agent was entitled to a US$400 payment.
In Bulawayo, the party hired more than 6 000 polling agents. CCC provincial member Mr James Sithole yesterday said the party’s polling agents in this year’s polls countrywide were still to be paid.
“It is not a problem (non-payment of polling agents) that is peculiar to Bulawayo 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 Sithole.
He said Mr David Coltart the interim treasury general had promised party members in an address at a recent party provincial assembly meeting in Bulawayo that money to pay the agents had been secured from CATA Foundation a partner international non-governmental organisation
“The treasurer general (Mr Coltart) 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 Sithole.
Another provincial member who requested anonymity from the Midlands Province confirmed that the party agents were still to be paid.
“There is an outcry from the agents that we deployed in polling stations across the province. There had been an undertaking that they will be paid and they signed short contracts for the services they rendered,” he said.
“However, the money to pay them is yet to come from an organisation that had partnered us in ensuring free and fair elections that have no traits of rigging. We are, however, hopeful that the money will come and then all the agents can be (paid).”