European Union cuts funding to Zim over disputed elections

Senior Political Writer

The European Union says it discontinuing support for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission over alleged lack of transparency in the August 23 harmonised elections.

The EU extended a grant of US$5 million through the United Nations Development Programme, for institutional support last December, and only disbursed US$1 million, and is now closing the tap. Other development partners and funders provided resources to assist election management and democracy capacity.

In a statement Tuesday, the EU said it had both the Ministry of Finance and Investment Promotion and ZEC of the position – but would remain open for future engagement.

The development is likely to begin another frosty period between Zimbabwe and the West following elections that were won by President Mnangagwa but were not endorsed by some observer missions.

The EU had a large contingent of observers following an invitation by the Government of Zimbabwe.

The bloc, which previously had a battery of sanctions on Zimbabwe that it progressively pared down over the years, explained that its funding “is currently under scrutiny due to concerns raised by several international Electoral Observation Missions (EOMs) regarding the independence and transparency of ZEC during the 2023 harmonised elections”.

“The recent preliminary statements from multiple EOMs, including the EU EOM, have raised concerns about ZEC’s management of the electoral process, particularly regarding its independence and transparency,” the EU said.

“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 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 statement by the body said.

It said it would continue closely monitoring developments in Zimbabwe and reaffirms its commitment to collaborate with the government, independent commissions, civil society, and other stakeholders in promoting democracy, human rights and rule of law.

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