Zimbabwe rivals clash over IMF cash

Supporters of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party accuse MDC of failing to support farmers.



    The two main factions in Zimbabwe's unity government have clashed over how to spend half a billion dollars from the International Monetary Fund, in a dispute that could create further tensions in the already shaky coalition.

    The country's finance minister, Tendai Biti, of the Movement for Democratic Change, has earmarked about $50m of the funds for agriculture, a sector that represents about 16 per cent of the economy and a majority of the country's workforce.

    But farmers, many of whom support the Zanu-PF party of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, say the government should spend the bulk of the funds on assisting new farmers.

    Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa, reporting from Mashonaland East, spoke to one such farmer who said the current allocation of funds is a "travesty".

    He said a failure to support the country's agricultural sector could lead to "social strife".

    Alfred Mutasa, an economist from Zimbabwe, said the situation has heightened tensions between supporters of the two factions.

    "Tension has risen precisely because Tendai Biti has been seen to be very obstructive because he has not been able to deliver," he told Al Jazeera.

    "People in Zanu-PF think he has been very obstructive in that sense."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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