ZESN denies alleged involvement in US$10m western poll bounty

'ZESN would like to categorically state that it does not train political party agents and has not received donor funding...'

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has denied claims by Zanu PF treasurer general Patrick Chinamasa the poll watchdog had joined forces with some mentioned western countries to put together US$10 million for use in the training of 12,500 election agents belonging to parties participating in the upcoming elections.

Chinamasa said Wednesday the funds were being donated by UK, France, Australia, USAID, Sweden, Japan, the US Embassy in Harare, the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI), EU and USA.

In a strongly worded statement Wednesday, Chinamasa warned that accepting the donation will be in violation of Zimbabwe’s Political Parties (Finance) Act, which prohibits candidates and political parties from accepting foreign donations.

Responding to the claims, ZESN distanced itself from the said process.

“The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) refutes allegations leveled against it by Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Finance Department on training of polling agents that will participate in the upcoming 23 August 2023 elections,” said ZESN.

“ZESN would like to categorically state that it does not train political party agents and has not received donor funding for the purposes of training any political party agents or candidates.”

ZESN said its mandate was to promote democratic elections in Zimbabwe through domestic oversight of all electoral processes such as voter registration, nomination, pre and post-electoral environment, and polling day processes.

“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,” said the poll-based group. –

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