Cape Town - Zimbabwe will soon take a begging bowl to Western countries and world bodies for funds to bankroll the constitutional referendum and the forthcoming elections as the country has no money, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said.
Newsday reported on Friday that Biti told a 2013 National Budget consultative meeting in Bulawayo that Treasury coffers could not fund the two processes which, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), required a staggering $104m.
"The 2013 budget is the crucial one in the lifespan of the inclusive government because it’s a pre-election budget," Biti said.
"However, we do not have adequate resources to fund the elections on our own. Countries such as the United Kingdom, Norway, and China and the United Nations have an obligation to fund the elections, in as much as they fund our education and health sectors.
"They should come to the party. We will soon approach them for assistance."
Biti did not, however, mention when a formal approach would be made or exactly how much he would be appealing for.
The date for the referendum is yet to be set, but President Robert Mugabe has already indicated that he wants elections in March next year.
Mugabe, who has been in power for more than three decades, is under pressure from regional leaders to hold free and fair elections with a new democratic constitution.
The last elections in 2008 were fraught with violence, which primarily targeted Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party.