News / Africa

Zimbabwe Finance Minister Says No Money for Polls

Zimbabwe Finance Minister Says No Money for PollsZimbabwe Finance Minister Says No Money for Polls
x
Zimbabwe Finance Minister Says No Money for Polls
Zimbabwe Finance Minister Says No Money for Polls

HARARE - Zimbabwe's finance minister has ruled out holding elections this year, saying the troubled nation does not have enough money to fund the polls. He blamed the problem on diamond mining firms failing to pay the government its share of revenue.
 

Addressing journalists in Harare, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said it was essential that the country’s precious stones help turn around the nation’s fortunes. As a result of diamond revenue not reaching the treasury, Biti said, there will be no elections in Zimbabwe this year.
 

"Look, we can't even pay wages. How do we pay for an election? Tell me. Here in the ministry of finance we can make you go on tour -there is no dam full of money. So it is simply there is no money for an election. We can’t look after our own recurrent expenditure. But if someone gives us some money maybe," said Biti.


That is a direct rebuff to calls by President Robert Mugabe to have elections this year to end the power-sharing government he formed with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2009.


According to Zimbabwe’s constitution, elections must be held by June next year. Regional leaders in the Southern African Development Community want the polls held under a new constitution. But Mugabe has repeatedly indicated that he is not worried about the other leaders' positions.


"This year we must have elections; they must take place with or without a new constitution… We will tell SADC what the problem is. SADC cannot tell us to continue with an exercise that is futile," said Mugabe.


The futile exercise to which Mugabe refers to is the drafting of a new constitution, which has been brought to a near-standstill by disagreements between Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and Tsvangirai’s MDC party. Lack of funds also has derailed the exercise.


The lack of money can be traced in part to alleged corruption in the Marange diamond fields. The pro-ZANU-PF army seized control of the fields in 2009, and for a time, Zimbabwe was barred from selling the diamonds abroad. The international diamond watchdog, the Kimberley Process, cited reports of violence and diamond-smuggling in the fields.


The ban has since been lifted, but Biti said diamond revenue still is not reaching state coffers. At his Thursday news conference, the finance minister laid the blame on Anjin, a Chinese company that now is the biggest diamond mining firm in Zimbabwe.


He said the lack of revenue presents both political and economic problems.


"Clearly there are challenges of opaqueness. Clearly we fear that might be a parallel government where these revenues are going. We have a challenge in this country. I have spoken to the president; he is fully aware of this challenge. I have spoken to the prime minister; he is fully aware of this challenge," said Biti.


The term of the fragile coalition government expires about one year from now, in June 2013. 

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wilbert Mukori from: Zimbabwe
May 19, 2012 1:07 PM
This GNU has failed to deliver the much needed political reforms and economic recovery it promised. The logical thing to do is to hold fresh elections. To postpone election on the grounds that the nation has no money will seek to reward this GNU for its poor performance and prolong the suffering of the electorate. The excuse become real feeble given that Minister Biti says he has money for a referendum and nationwide censorship. He should get his priorities right, elections are more important.

by: John Smith
May 17, 2012 8:54 PM
Amazing how history repeats itself. Lobengula sold Zimbabwe to Rhodes and ZANU PF and Mugabe are now selling Zimbabwe to the modern day coloniser China.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs