EU Suspends Aid For Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission

Fabio massimo Castaldo (C) Chief Observer of the European Union Alection Observation Mission in Zimbabwe addresses a press conference in Harare. Picture: John Wessels / AFP
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THE beleagauered European Union on Tuesday announced plans to suspend financial aid to Zimbabwe’s electoral commission after international observers called voting to re-elect President Emmerson Mnangagwa flawed.

Recent preliminary statements from multiple electoral observer missions, including the EU’s, “have raised concerns about ZEC’s (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) management of the electoral process, particularly regarding its independence and transparency,” the European bloc’s delegation to the country said.

“The European Union has formally communicated its intention to suspend its $5 million financial support for the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission,” the EU statement added.

The EU’s financial support is part of a programme managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and financed by a number of donors, including the EU, aimed at improving Zimbabwe’s capacity to organise elections.

The European Union joined the programme last year and it is due to run till 2024.

Last week Zimbabwe swore in a new government that the opposition branded as the “worst” since independence after President Mnangagwa appointed his son and nephew to key ministerial posts.

The president was re-elected on August 23, with 52.6 percent of the vote against 44 percent for the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa.

The CCC termed the result “flawed, shambolic and illegal” and demanded a fresh election.

International observers highlighted “serious problems” affecting the “transparency” of the ballot, including voters names not found on the ballot lists, while others were the target of intimidation in a country plagued by a long history of elections marred by irregularities.

The EU said it “remains open to the possibility of resuming its contribution to support efforts aiming at strengthening the electoral processes and bring such processes closer to the regional and international standards that Zimbabwe has signed”.

The bloc reaffirmed its commitment to collaborate with the Zimbabwe government and other stakeholders “in promoting democracy, human rights and rule of law”.