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MDC blasts foreign funding ban

[Zimbabwe] Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC Leader
Obinna Anyadike/IRIN
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on the basis of a video secretly filmed by Ari Ben-Menashe
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on Wednesday castigated attempts by the ruling ZANU-PF party to push through Parliament legislation that would ban Zimbabwean political parties from receiving financial support or donations from outside the country, the ‘Financial Gazette’ reported. Dismissing the ban as unconstitutional and draconian, Tsvangirai said the move was aimed at preventing the MDC from getting aid from what he said were progressive forces outside Zimbabwe. The Bill, which went through its first reading in Parliament on Wednesday, provides for government funding for any political party that garners five percent of the vote but makes it criminal for political parties to receive monetary donations from foreigners. It also makes it illegal for Zimbabweans abroad to contribute to political parties in the country. Even aid given to politicians for use in poverty alleviation programmes in the country is not spared under the Bill. Cash or equipment donated is also forfeited to the state under the proposed law, which political analysts have dismissed as a desperate attempt by the government to pre-empt foreign donors who are shunning it and preferring to work with civic groups and opposition parties that promote democracy in the country. Many European governments have already indicated that they are scaling down direct aid to the Harare government. Legislation is being considered in the United States to bar cooperation between Washington and Harare while making available American aid to Zimbabwean opposition parties and other pro-democracy groups. ZANU-PF is expected to use its numerical superiority in Parliament to push the Bill into law.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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