Chamisa fails to pay polling agents as US$3 million vanishes

Over 45,000 persons who were employed as poll workers for the nationwide elections on August 23 by the struggling Citizens Coalition for Change, which is led by Mr. Nelson Chamisa, have not yet received payment.

The discovery that certain party officials stole more than US$3 million provided by the European Union and placed aside for their allowances has fueled concerns that the opposition party is under severe financial strain.

Given that President Mnangagwa of Zanu-PF received 52.60 percent of the vote to Mr. Chamisa’s 44.03 percent, the Citizens Coalition for Change was trounced in the polls.

Although the party’s national spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi, said the matter has not been brought to the party’s attention, the party’s interim organising secretary Mr Amos Chibaya, confirmed they are looking for funds to pay election agents who worked for them in the polls.

Chibaya said at least 45 000 agents were affected and investigations revealed that the party’s treasury department had mishandled the funds.

Read Also: Mnangagwa offered Chamisa a GNU deal and he refused: Ibbo Mandaza

Mkwananzi said if it was true that the funds were indeed misappropriated, the party has mechanisms to deal with such matters.

Some of the disgruntled polling agents who spoke to Daily Monitor on condition of anonymity said they felt betrayed by Mr Chamisa for not making sure they were paid their dues while some threaten to take legal action. Each polling agent was entitled to a US$400 payment.

In Bulawayo, the party hired more than 6 000 polling agents. CCC provincial member Mr James Sithole yesterday said the party’s polling agents in this year’s polls countrywide were still to be paid.

“It is not a problem (non-payment of polling agents) that is peculiar to Bulawayo province, it is a nationwide problem, no polling agent has been paid to date, but I am quite sure the leadership is working on the issue,” said Mr Sithole.

He said Mr David Coltart the interim treasury general had promised party members in an address at a recent party provincial assembly meeting in Bulawayo that money to pay the agents had been secured from CATA Foundation a partner international non-governmental organisation

“The treasurer general (Mr Coltart) said the money was now there, but it will not be paid to agents through the provincial structures, but will go directly to the EcoCash or bank accounts of the agents,” said Mr Sithole.

Another provincial member who requested anonymity from the Midlands Province confirmed that the party agents were still to be paid.

“There is an outcry from the agents that we deployed in polling stations across the province. There had been an undertaking that they will be paid and they signed short contracts for the services they rendered,” he said.

“However, the money to pay them is yet to come from an organisation that had partnered us in ensuring free and fair elections that have no traits of rigging. We are, however, hopeful that the money will come and then all the agents can be (paid).”

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