EU election observer mission team to present final report in November

EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Jobst Von Kirchmann
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HARARE – The European Union election observer mission (EOM) team is set to present a final report on the Zimbabwe 2023 general elections in the coming month of November, according to the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Jobst Von Kirchmann.

The  EU ambassador also described the recent attacks against its election observer mission to Zimbabwe as, ” baseless and unsubstantiated”.

Speaking in an interview with  The Zimbabwe Mail on Tuesday,  the EU Ambassador defended the EU election observer mission team’s preliminary election report saying they had deployed experienced and high-level professionals to observe the country’s elections.

“The EOM had 154 observers in the country, and they operated according to a methodology that is openly known to be transparent. They are high-level trained professionals, and they have done elections in countless countries across the world. They came to do their job and that’s basically it,” Ambassador  Kirchmann said.

The European Union delegation to Zimbabwe believes their report will pave the way to benchmarking future Zimbabwean elections to international standards.

Ambassador  Kirchmann said the media writing negative articles has the objective of undermining the diplomatic relations between the EU and Zimbabwe.

“Indeed we can say there has been defamation and disinformation, these are exactly the right words because that’s how we feel.

“We have seen a number of baseless and unsubstantiated claims that the EU has manipulated elections, that the EU is biased, impartial, and so on.

“I think the weirdest claim is that the EU is buying whiskey vouchers and giving them to people so that they write negative things,” the Ambassador said.

He said the final report would breach the gap between the demand for clarity and the way forward.

“The next step now is to wait for the final report. This final report will be issued by mid-November and according to the agreement we had with the government,” he said.

Ambassador Von Kirchmann said; “EOM Chief Observer Mr. Fabio Massimo Castaldo,  will be coming back to Harare, to present the final report as well as make recommendations.

“That will be an occasion to sit together, to look into it and discuss the way forward,” he said.

“When we have the report and recommendations we will start discussing the way forward and how we evaluate the relationship between Zimbabwe and the European Union,” he added.

He echoed the views of the preliminary report that the elections were short of international standards.

The ambassador noted the agreement between the Zimbabwean government and the European Union of an obligation by the government to support the EOM during the electoral process but rather there was a turning point.

In the agreement, we stated that the government would support us and they would support this mission. They would give the observer mission access to all electoral parties.

“However when our mission arrived, the first report in the state media painted the EOM as “impartial and biased”.