AHEAD of a visit to Zimbabwe by United States (US) Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs Mr Robert Scott next month, it has emerged that key American institutions that oft interfere in elections in developing countries, have budgeted a staggering US$37 million to subvert this year’s harmonised elections.
Already, two NGOs —namely the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and Election Resource Centre — have received US$537 500 and US$577 500, respectively, from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to run a parallel voter tabulation process which they call Sample Based Observation during the full election cycle.
Insiders within the NGO sector where there is renewed vigour and activities following indications that the US is dangling millions for the polls, said there is massive lobbying and backstabbing to access the prized money.
The insidious plot also exposes how local NGOs are now going beyond their declared mandates and are not only meddling in local elections with foreigners but also act as conduits of money laundering.
In the latest case, the NGOs, surreptitiously working with foreign forces, seek to ultimately produce and announce the results of the elections, specifically the presidential outcome, a day after the polls.
ZESN and ERC, which are at the forefront of the seditious scheme, have budgeted to deploy 11 000 monitors.
Details gleaned from the ERC funding proposal show that local NGOs are behind the treacherous plot and have already captured some individuals in the election management system and plan an audacious capture of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission using the compromised officials.
“ . . . ERC has established strategic partnerships with other stakeholders that allows the institution to get access to the voters’ roll, and this avenue will be explored in the event ZEC does not provide it with the voters’ roll”.
The stolen voters’ roll will then be availed to shadowy anti-Government organisations such as Pachedu and one Topper Whitehead.
In their covert operations, the two NGOs will directly deploy 750 monitors for the parallel voter tabulation with the other 10 250 observers coming from CCC activists who would be embedded as election observers.
The money that is already in ZESN and ERC coffers are drawdowns from the US$37 million war chest that oppositional forces have budgeted and that will be granted by hostile foreign governments following meetings that were held in a neighbouring country.
At the first meeting, which took place between January 11 and 15 and was chaired by NDI senior advisor for Southern East Africa programmes, Ms Traci Cook, in a neighbouring country, participants that included local NGOs were assured of massive funding.
A follow-up meeting was held on January 11 between 2pm and 4.30pm at the US Embassy in Harare between USAID and NGOs that are referred to as implementing partners (IPs).
The meeting was chaired by a senior USAID official Mr Armando Baze who was accompanied by USAID staffers namely Ms Sharon Ndlovu, Mr Lane Mears and Mr Timothy Salary.
NGOs represented at the meeting included Heal Zimbabwe Trust, Accountability Lab, Crisis Coalition, Carter Centre, Veritas, East-West Management Institute and the NDI, which was also representing ERC and ZESN.
At the meeting, Mr Farai Maguwu of the Centre for Natural Resources Management and Mr Farai Mutondori of Zimbabwe Environment Lawyers Association made a joint presentation where they pleaded with USAID for funds towards anti-Government organisations, the source said.
“Officials from USAID indicated that various grants have been approved by the US government through USAID for Zimbabwe’s elections. It was also indicated at the meeting that USAID senior deputy administrator Megan Doherty will be in the country to meet USAID implementing partners between March 6 and 10.”
This is not the first time that the opposition has been clandestinely working with hostile foreign nations, but it is its modus operandi since its formation in 1999 at the behest of Americans and the British.
While real and genuine NGOs have not raised alarm over the imminent assent of the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill by President Mnangagwa, USAID and its local proxies have been predictably peeved and have been desperately seeking to block its passage.
Unsurprisingly, at both meetings, effects of the PVO Bill were also discussed with a view to determining whether funds would be channelled to the local accounts of the so-called implementing partners or through offshore accounts and then shipped to the country as cash.
The PVO Bill, which the President said is being tidied up for his signature, is crafted to protect and defend the country’s sovereignty from foreign interests, who have been using NGOs to infiltrate and destabilise the country under the guise of helping the less privileged.
The new law, therefore, is expected to cure such delinquencies by ensuring transparency and accountability. – Herald