Zimbabwe wants firms to pay for referendum

Last updated 08:33 19/02/2013
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
Reuters
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

Relevant offers

Africa

Famine is over in South Sudan but the job has just begun Injured giant squid knocks paddle boarder in water during dramatic encounter in South Africa Man jailed for dangling baby from 15th floor of high-rise to get Facebook likes Catholic church report: 3300 dead since central Congo conflict began in August Thousands of wildebeests die in a river each year. That's actually a good thing, study finds Too hot to handle: Study shows Earth's killer heat waves worsening Gunmen attack Mali tourist resort, killing four, including two soldiers Somali survivors tell of restaurant siege by rebels; 17 dead At least 20 people being held hostage in Somalia's capital after suicide bomb attack The humanitarian catastrophe many of us know nothing about

Destitute Zimbabwe plans to borrow from local companies to raise US$100 million (NZ$117m) needed to hold a referendum on a new constitution, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says.

The southern African country will vote in March on whether to adopt a new charter approved by parliament that seeks to curb sweeping presidential powers while strengthening state institutions such as the cabinet, parliament and judiciary.

Rivals Tsvangirai and veteran President Robert Mugabe formed a power-sharing government after a disputed 2008 election and agreed to hold fresh polls only after adopting a new constitution.

Tsvangirai and one of his deputies in government, Arthur Mutambara, said the government wanted to borrow from firms, including mines and banks, as well as issuing Treasury bills.

"We have put in place a mechanism to raise funds for the referendum," Tsvangirai told reporters at a press conference.

Mutambara added: "We are saying to the private sector: 'This is your country, political stability is in your best interest,."

Harare has a history of defaulting on its debt and has seen its external debt rise to more than $10 billion.

Zimbabwe's economy shrunk by as much as 40 per cent between 2000 and 2008 - according to official figures - a decline blamed on Mugabe's policies such as the seizure of white-owned farms.

Most foreign donors have withheld money, pressing for political and economic reforms.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has already approached the United Nations to help raise money for general elections, which by law are due when the current presidential and parliamentary terms expire at the end of June.

Tsvangirai said the United Nations had a team in the country to discuss the request.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content