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26.10.2005 General News

Zimbabwe to probe "Kufuor's Donation"

By Sapa-DPA
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Harare, Zimbabwe 26 Oct. 2005 -- Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is to be investigated over $2,5-million in illegal funds it is said to have received from Ghana, Nigeria and Taiwan, a state-controlled newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Outspoken MDC member of Parliament Job Sikhala this week claimed at a press conference that the MDC had received the $2,5-million from Ghana, Nigeria and Taiwan.

Under Zimbabwe's Political Parties Finance Act it is illegal for local parties to receive foreign funding and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told The Herald he would report the matter to the country's police chief.

"As minister responsible for the administration of the Political Parties Finance Act, I will draw to the attention of the commissioner of police with respect to the revelations made by honourable Job Sikhala. They will advise us accordingly," Chinamasa was quoted as saying.

At a press conference earlier this week, Sikhala claimed that disagreements over control of the funds were behind infighting threatening to tear apart the six-year-old opposition party.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's spokesperson dismissed Sikhala's claim.

"Mr Tsvangirai is not aware of any donations from either Ghana, Nigeria or Taiwan as alleged by Mr Sikhala," spokesperson William Bango told the newspaper.

"In Mr Tsvangirai's view, Mr Sikhala is a candidate for psychiatric attention unless he proves his allegations," he is quoted as saying.

The MDC is split down the middle over whether or not to participate in elections for a new 66-seat Senate. On Monday, 26 MDC candidates registered to contest the November 26 poll in defiance of leader Morgan Tsvangirai's call for a boycott.

It was the biggest snub yet to Tsvangirai, who has battled to contain fierce bickering in the party over the issue. He says Zimbabwe's electoral laws "breed illegitimate outcomes".

Other senior officials say the party should contest the elections to prevent President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -- Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) gaining more political ground. Zanu-PF already has a two-thirds majority in the lower house of Parliament.

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