EU cancels funding for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission after dodgy elections
- The EU gives up to R94 million to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
- After observer reports on the latest election in Zimbabwe, the EU is walking away.
- President Emmerson Mnangagwa is in New York for the UNGA78 and will be meeting international heads of state for the first time since the disputed polls.
The European Union on Tuesday announced it will pull out of a funding arrangement with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), after Zimbabwe’s disputed 23 August general elections, that saw the return of Emmerson Mnangagwa for a second presidential term while the ruling Zanu-PF fell slightly short of a two-thirds majority.
In a statement issued late on Tuesday, the EU said: “Preliminary statements from multiple EOMs [election observer missions], including the EU EOM, have raised concerns about the ZEC’s management of the electoral process, particularly regarding its independence and transparency.”
As such the EU had “initiated a procedure to suspend its contribution to this project”.
The EU funding for ZEC is meant to run until December next year to the tune of R95 million.
During the run-up to the elections, Zimbabwe’s state-controlled media accused the EU EOM of trying to force local journalists to write negative stories about the elections.
The EU dismissed this as a ploy to derail its observer mandate.
The preliminary and final reports from regional and international observers that flagged irregularities in the electoral process didn’t help matters.
“The EU firmly underscores the critical importance of electoral management bodies serving as independent and transparent institutions in fulfilling their mandates to deliver credible and inclusive electoral processes that enjoy the trust of citizens,” the EU said on Tuesday.
The EU was invited by the Mnangagwa regime to observe elections in the country for the first time in two decades after relations soured under the late Robert Mugabe, who was accused of human rights violations.
Mnangagwa has sworn in his deputies and cabinet ministers, while opposition legislators have also started their parliamentary terms.
The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has now resolved to go on a regional offensive so that Mnangagwa is brought to the negotiation table.
Senior Zanu-PF officials have been attacking Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema, the only SADC leader to openly speak about irregularities with Zimbabwe’s polls.
Mnangagwa insists that he won the elections fairly and will not be told what to do by “Western puppets” and their “masters”.
On Monday, he left for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) which will become his first post-election international engagement platform.