by Innocent Mujeri
Citizen Initiative, a United States (US) based non-profit making organization, fronted by Freeman Chari, has been exposed for sourcing funds for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activities under the guise of COVID-19 pandemic.
The US based organisation launched an online fund raising campaign, #GoFundMe, on Tuesday and declared that they intend to raise US$50 000 for COVID-19.
According to Chari, the money will be used to purchase personal protective equipment for medical staff and also support families of medical personnel with food hampers.
However, an insider who preferred anonymity told this publication that the organisation was hoodwinking the public into believing that they genuinely want to assist in the fight against COVID-19 when they actually want to raise funds for MDC activities.
The same source said Citizen Initiative lied to the world that they intended to raise US$50 000 when their actual target is US$500 000. A large chunk of the raised funds will be channelled to MDC and its leader Nelson Chamisa, said the source.
The MDC coffers are currently in the red as their western sponsors, had withdrawn financial support due to misappropriation of same. Chari, a known MDC sympathizer, has therefore devised to use the COVID-19 pandemic to mobilise funds for MDC activities.
Political Parties Finance Act does not allow any political party to receive money from outside.
The source further revealed to this reporter that, Cl is to allocate US$100 000 of the anticipated raised proceeds to Chamisa for his upkeep. Part of the money, the source said, would be used to purchase an all-terrain vehicle for the MDC leader.
The MDC security and legal department is set to get a combined US$200 000 for various training programmes lined up for this year.
The source said the MDC legal department was set to use part of the donated funds to set up a legal team to be headed by Advocate Thabani Mpofu. The team will represent MDC youths in courts in the event that they are arrested for illegal demonstrations or other crimes.
The source revealed that some of the funds will be reserved for other party activities such as the restructuring exercise which is currently underway.
It was revealed to this reporter that the #GoFundMe initiative has to date raised US$101 946.
This is not the first time that the Citizen Initiative has been involved in fundraising for national disasters, with the proceeds not being properly accounted for. Last year they raised US$106 712 for Cyclone Idai disaster. They went further and raised another US$22 824 for mobile clinics in Bulawayo, Harare, Masvingo, and Manicaland Provinces and the funds could not be accounted for.
An analyst who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity said the irony was that all eight members of the CI board, except for Wellington Mahohoma, reside outside the country making it difficult to make them account for their activities.
Efforts to get a comment from Mr Chari were fruitless as he did not respond to questions forwarded to him.