…. Over 360 transporters in Masvingo yet to be paid
… Zec capacity to run by-elections questioned
MASVINGO – While the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is seized with preparations for a series of by-elections across the country, its capacity to fund the elections is going to be put to test since the European Union (EU) withdrew funding to the elections management body (EMB) over its failure to hold credible elections, coupled with the existing bill yet to be settled with August 2023 election workers.
In September EU said it had withdrawn its three-year financial support to ZEC worth US$5 million, over concerns regarding the running and management of the August 23 harmonized elections in the country, putting more pressure on the EMB which still owes thousands of US$ to drivers and polling officers for the August harmonized elections.
ZEC is reportedly struggling to pay election workers who rendered different services during the August 23 harmonized elections with more than 360 transporters from Masvingo province only, said to have not been paid their dues
Though the actual amount of cash the EMB owes to the transporters is not yet ascertained, sources said there are more than 360 transporters from Masvingo alone who rendered services for different number of days and the amount could be close to half a million United States Dollars.
Contacted for comment, ZEC Chief Elections Officer Utoile Silaigwana asked the reporter to send queries to Zec director via email.
“Can you please send you queries to the director via email?” said Silaigwana
ZEC Provincial Elections Officer Zex Pudurai initially said all transporters were paid but later on acknowledged that there were some outstanding payments but said they were being processed and by end of week they would have been cleared.
“I have been told by our directors that there are some outstanding payments but they are being processed as we speak and by end of this week I am sure they would have cleared,” said Pudurai.
Transporters who spoke to TellZim News said they were promised to be paid within two weeks after the election but up to now nothing has materialized.
“We were told that we will get our dues after two weeks but up to now we haven’t been paid and our fear is that they are going to pay us at the prevailing rate of that time which has since changed because they promised to pay us in local currency,” said one transporter.
Another said they had spent more than their dues in fuel to and from ZEC offices to the Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) every day.
“I have already spend more than what I am owed in fuel; you drive to ZEC they tell you to go to CMED, you drive there, they tell you that they haven’t received anything and at times the way they talk to us shows that there is no any hope of getting anything soon,” said another transporter.
Another said they were shocked to learn that ZEC was engaging other transporters for the same duties for by-elections when they haven’t paid those who rendered services in August.
“We were shocked to learn that they are now engaging transporters for the by-elections when they haven’t paid us, it means they are biting more than they can chew,” said the source.
Transporters claim they were promised USD$200 per day payable in RTGS and some transporters have up to 20 days.
ZEC engaged private transporters to transport election material, from tents, personnel, ballot boxes and food among other things.