ZESN refutes claims it received US$10M for polling agents training

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has refuted claims by Zanu PF that it has received about US$10 million in donor funding to train polling agents who will participate in the upcoming 23 August elections.

In a statement, the ruling party’s finance department claimed that ZESN and the Election Resource Center (ERC) had received a donation of US$ 10 million for the training of 12,500 election agents from all the political parties participating in the polls.

The money is said to have come from the UK, France, Australia, USAID, Sweden, Japan, the US Embassy in Harare, the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the European Union.

The ruling party argued that “such offer of funding is illegal and in direct violation of section 6 of the Political Parties (Finance) Act chapter 2:11 which provides that ‘no political party, member of a political party or candidate shall accept any foreign donation whether directly or from a donor or through a third person”.

In response, ZESN refuted the allegations stating that it was not their mandate to train political party agents or candidates.

“The Network’s mandate is to promote democratic elections in Zimbabwe through domestic oversight on all electoral processes such as voter registration, nomination, pre and post-electoral environment and polling day processes among others,” said ZESN.

ZESN said they pursue their work guided by the Zimbabwe Constitutional dictates, the Electoral Act, the ZEC Code of Conduct for Observers and its values and principles as an independent and non-partisan organisation.

“Further, the Network observes and is guided by SADC Principles and Guidelines on the Conduct of Democratic Elections and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) which Zimbabwe is a signatory to.

“ZESN reiterates that it does not and will not finance and or train any political party agents as this is not part of its core business and mandate, neither does ZESN support or endorse any political party or candidate in Zimbabwe,” the organisation said.

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