An initiative by MDC Alliance supporters to raise US$120 000 to buy a bullet-proof vehicle for their leader Nelson Chamisa has seemingly angered ZANU PF.
After the fundraising initiative exceeded the target last week, ZANU PF sympathisers, among them Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana suggested that the crowdfunding violated the Political Parties Finance Act.
The law bans Zimbabwean political parties from receiving external funding.
However, a legal expert, Professor Lovemore Madhuku told The Standard that there was nothing wrong with the fundraising by the MDC Alliance supporters and any attempt to seize the vehicle will be illegal and an abuse of power. Said Madhuku:
There is nothing wrong with party supporters coming together to buy their leader anything.
These are ordinary people who can come together and buy their leader a vehicle. They are not foreigners and this is not foreign funding.
It is not prohibited under the said Act and it will also be evil if anyone prohibits that initiative by the supporters.
It’s like when you are on a campaign trail and someone wants to cook for you or provide transport for you, it is not prohibited and cannot be prohibited by the Political Party Finances Act or any other law.
There is nowhere they can impound this. It will be an abuse of power and very illegal.
There is no provision that allows that. When a vehicle comes, as long as it pays duty and all those other things, they cannot do anything.
Another legal expert, Bulawayo-based Nqobani Sithole, said as long as the vehicle was declared and was transported legally into the country and duty was paid for it, then there would be no justification to impound it. Said, Sithole:
The mischief of the Political Parties Finance Act is to avoid clandestine donations.
However, if it is declared, and there is no violation of any law, for example, the Foreign Exchange and Money Laundering Act, then that kind of donation will be above board.
The law provides for this, but that can be an exception as long as it is declared. At the end of the day, whatever resources parties get should be made clear.
There should not be any clandestine dealings, and sources of finance should be known by the regulating authorities.
Posting on Twitter, Mangwana suggested that there was reasonable justification to confiscate Chamisa’s vehicle as happened with the late MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai’s BMW X5 which was impounded by the police in Lupane in 2008.
Meanwhile, MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende said the party was pushing for the release of Tsvangirai’s vehicle in Lupane and other MDC vehicles being kept in Gweru.