By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Justice Rita Makarau has told Parliament that her commission requires about US$274 million to conduct the 2018 elections.
Appearing before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Woman and Gender, Justice Makarau told the legislators that her commission is ready to hold elections at any time they are announced and has since submitted a budget to the treasury for 2018 elections.
“The responsibility of the funding for the whole electoral process lies with the government of Zimbabwe. A consolidated budget requirement has since been submitted to the treasury for funding in the sum of US$274 million.
“ZEC is confident that treasury will avail the funding as it has funded all the past by-elections and the acquisition of the BVR kits.
“This is funding that will enable ZEC to procure all election material necessary and to pay all allowances necessary to ensure not only a successful voter registration exercise but a free and fair election in 2018,” she said.
Zimbabwe is set to go for general elections latest end of August next year and ZEC has ringed in a lot of changes to the process to encompass biometric voter registration and also changing from Ward based voting to the new polling station based voting.
According to Makarau, her commission has already identified some of the things in terms of election material need for the 2018 elections which has been dubbed as the do-or-die for the opposition parties.
“Your commission in preparing for the elections in 2018 has already identified election materials and equipment required. As indicated above, the treasury is ceased with a budget for the required election materials and equipment.
“These include but are not limited to the hardware that will be necessary such as teenage, alternative and supplementary lighting in the form of gas lamps, voting booths, ballot paper printing and the distribution of such material to the polling stations,” she said.
However, if the US$274 million election budget will be funded through the 2018 National Budget, it will mean that in 2018 the country’s budget will be shared between civil servants and ZEC.