The European Union (EU) Exploratory Mission yesterday expressed the desire to observe Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections scheduled for July 2023.
The EU delegation led by Eirini-Maria Gounari met with the ruling ZANU PF party leadership in Harare
ZANU PF Secretary-General Obert Mpofu and the party’s Secretary for Information and Publicity Christopher Mutsvangwa represented the party.
Mutsvangwa said the EU is keen to send an observer mission to observe Zimbabwe’s 2023 elections. The Herald cites Mutsvangwa as saying:
We are so happy with the candid discussion and commitment to work with Zimbabwe. We received the European Union Exploratory Mission led by Eirini-Maria Gounari.
We are looking at the upcoming elections and they are very keen to send an observer group so they are also making sure that they have consultations with Government departments and other political parties.
We are happy and delighted with this trend of EU-Zimbabwe relations and EU-Zanu PF relations.
They are waiting for an invitation from President Mnangagwa to come and observe the elections this year. From past practices in 2018, we would not see any difficulties in inviting them.
Mpofu said Zimbabwe is keen to work closely with the EU to further relations and open trade links between the two.
He said there used to be serious trade between the EU and Zimbabwe.
Recent past elections:
The credibility of Zimbabwe’s elections has been questioned in the past due to reports of irregularities, vote rigging accusations of voter suppression and fraud, and violence against opposition supporters.
The 2018 elections were closely watched, and while there were concerns raised about the fairness of the process, many observers praised the elections for being peaceful and transparent.
The opposition criticised the election for irregularities and rigging. The voters’ roll, ballot papers, and vote-counting process were some of the areas of concern.
The ruling party, ZANU-PF, won the presidential election, while the opposition party alleged that the election was not fair.
Some international observers also had concerns about the election, but others endorsed the results.
Significance of Free and Fair elections:
Elections constitute one of the major ways Zimbabwe can improve the democratic process and restore relations with the international community.
The international community is urging Zimbabwe to continue making reforms for free and fair elections, human rights, and the rule of law.
However, progress has been slow, and concerns remain about human rights abuses and corruption.