Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission has announced that it will need $270 million to organize next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
Commission Chairperson Rita Makarau announced the figure while addressing a parliamentary committee.
According to Reuters, Zimbabwe is suffering severe cash shortages and Mugabe’s government is struggling to pay its workers on time while many businesses can’t fund the imports they need.
“A consolidated budget requirement has since been submitted to treasury for funding in the sum of $274 million,” said Makarau, adding that she was confident the national treasury would make the money available.
Ninety-three-year-old President Robert Mugabe is expected to be one of the names on the ballot papers after his party endorsed him as its candidate for the 2018 elections.
Mugabe, the world’s oldest elected leader, has been in power since Zimbabwe gained independence from Great Britain in 1980.
Increasingly frail and in poor health, he would be 94 when presidential elections are held next year. If elected, he would secure another five-year term that would keep him in office until he is 100 years old.
In February, Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe declared at a political rally that her husband could contest and win the country’s presidential elections even if he was stone dead.
The opposition, however, accuses Mugabe of large scale electoral fraud and using state-sponsored violence to maintain his hold on power.
Zimbabwe’s constitution states that elections should be held not more than 30 days before Aug. 22, 2018, unless parliament elects to dissolve itself, which would trigger an early vote.
In her address to parliament, Makarau said a new voter register will be completed by December.