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Dougie gaffe costs taxpayers US$60m

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Dougie gaffe costs taxpayers US$60m

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GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
MIRROR REPORTER

MASVINGO – The just ended by-elections caused by Douglas Mwonzora’s recalls of opponents from Parliament and councils have cost the taxpayer a whooping US$60 million, a senior opposition politician and former Minister of Finance Tendai Biti has said.

Biti told The Mirror in an interview that the estimate cost for the by-elections, the biggest after independence is around US$60 million although the final figure is yet to be made public.

The Mirror tried to get the actual figure from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) spokesperson Jasper Mangwana but he kept on promising to come back with an answer until he stopped answering his phone.

Political analysts said by-elections cost the poor and struggling taxpayers a huge amount of money which should be directed at enhancing their livelihoods.
Asked whether it was proper that one man could cost the country so much; political analyst, Vivid Gwede, said the Mwonzora-led outfit is now clearly being fuelled by vindictive agendas rather than pursuing the interests of the Zimbabwean citizens who have rejected it in the by-elections.

Gwede, who is the Program Manager for Zimbabwe Alliance with years of experience working with civil society in governance, social justice and human rights sector, said it is high time the country has a law which requires a local referendum to be held before recalls are carried out.
” Any more rounds of recalls will serve no real purpose for anyone including that outfit, except to perpetuate what is now an attack on democracy itself,” Gwede.

Ironically Mwonzora’s MDC T failed to get a single seat or ward in the elections and his candidates were failing to get a single vote at the majority of polling stations. Mwonzora had since his Supreme Court victory against Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance in March 2020 recalled a total of 122 councillors and 22 MPs throughout the country.

MDC-T spokesperson Lloyd Damba rubbished the cost of the elections and said that what is important is that his party acted within the law.
He said that Morgan Tsvangirai at one time recalled 19 MPs and several councillors who rebelled against the party.

“When Nelson Chamisa took power he recalled Thokozani Khupe and several MPs from Matebeleland. Taxpayers money was also factored in all the recalls so what is the difference now? When the people of Zimbabwe voted for the recall clause in the Constitution they were also factoring the value of their taxes,” said Damba.

Zanu PF fired and reassigned just two MPs during that period. The MPs and councillors whose seats were being filled were a result of deaths, recalls and reassignments respectively.

The bulk of elections budgets go into printing of ballot papers, logistics, and the running of the election
Sixteen political parties contested the elections.

The parties that contested in the elections include Zanu PF, Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC), MDC-Alliance, All People’s Party, Democratic Opposition Party, Federation of African State, Free Zimbabwe Congress, Labour, Economists and African Democrats, MA’AT Zimbabwe, New Patriotic Front, Patriotic Zimbabweans, Republican Party of Zimbabwe, United Democratic Alliance, United Zimbabwe Alliance, Zimbabwe African People’s Union and Zimbabwe Labour Party.

ZEC chief elections officer, Utloile Silaigwana said in a statement that ballots for the National Assembly were printed by Fidelity Printers and Refiners while those for local authorities were printed by Print flow.

A total of 870 550 National Assembly ballot paper and 723 750 local authority ballot papers were printed for the by-elections. https://masvingomirror.com

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