UNDP speaks out on BVR saga

Source: UNDP speaks out on BVR saga – DailyNews Live

Farayi Machamire      30 March 2017

HARARE – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has vehemently
refuted claims that it is working in cahoots with opposition parties to
effect regime change in Zimbabwe, insisting it does not interfere with
political affairs of other countries.

This comes amid accusations that the United Nations (UN) agency hatched
the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera)’s last week protest to push
government to fire Rita Makarau as Zimbabwe Electoral Commission head to
pave way for a UN-supervised poll.

It is also on the back of government announcing that it raised $17 million
to fund the purchase of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits and will
supervise the procurement process – a move which raised the opposition’s
eyebrows, in suspicion that authorities were hijacking the key project
from UNDP. UN Resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli told a news conference
yesterday that their prime focus was development.

“No it’s not true,” he said of the accusations.

“We work with government in everything. It’s not true. We never deal in
political matters. I don’t know where that is coming from.”

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda immediately
buttressed Parajuli’s point, saying government and the UNDP “enjoy a
cordial relationship”.  Sibanda also refuted claims that government was
unhappy with the UNDP.

“I see no issues there. I think it’s being blown out of proportion,” he
said.

Sibanda was further asked if government was not being hypocritical by
availing the money to fund the BVR kits acquisition at a time UNDP was
already bankrolling the process and government was appealing for $188
million to assist flood victims.

“I think that question is misplaced,” he retorted.

“Government has ministries. So responsibilities differ. I am a member of
the bureaucracy and my job is to manage the implementation of programmes,
. . . of development, so that question I can’t answer it, I am sorry,”
Sibanda said.

Parajuli intervened: “The issue of BVR, you know we work on the request of
government A, B, C, D and whatever. All UNDP programmes are joint
programmes between government and UN. So government has the priority, `we
do this, you do that’ so we respect it.

“Actually, we commend government for coming forward with resources for
national programmes. It’s wonderful, that is key for sustainability . . .
there should be no question of who is doing now or later because we all
agree always with government. If there are changes, we agree. I think
there is no need to interpret this way in a different ways,” he said.

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