Zim Government surprisingly cool after European Union funding cut

Senior Political Writer

The official response of the Government of Zimbabwe to an announcement this Monday by the European Union that it was cutting off a US$5 million grant to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), has been surprisingly measured.

Zanu-PF mandarins and supporters online – including exiled former information tsar Professor Jonathan Moyo – railed sourly against the bloc for closing the tap following disputed elections last August.

An account on the social platform X, believed to belong to Presidential Spokeman George Charamba, also combatively attacked the EU. 

However, the new Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Jenfan Muswere and ZEC itself were polite, in a surprising response that may indicate that Zimbabwe is not too keen on burning bridges with the bloc, despite faltering “reengagement” efforts.

The EU and other Western donors support a number of social services and governance activities, including media.

 Muswere said in a statement Wednesday night: “The Government has always maintained the mantra as espoused by His Excellency, President Mnangagwa that Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none, which is also in line with our policy thrust of re-engagement and engagement with all the nations and institutions of the world.

“We remain fully committed to working with the various institutions and funding partners, including the European Union.

“The ZEC is fully funded by the State through the Consolidated Revenue Fund managed by the National Treasury but the Government has also always welcomed other donor partners whose help is to assist in capacity building and strengthening State institutions.”

He said Government has been consistent in providing ZEC with the required funding for elections.

Said he: “We appreciate efforts by the European Union and other donor partners who have chipped in to assist in capacity building through the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF), a vehicle through which donor partners provide electoral assistance.”

ZEC recognised and thanked the EU for its support.

“ZEC wants to reiterate that the support received through ZIM-ECO augments what is provided by the State and thus is not solely dependable on the Project itself,” said the electoral body.

The EU extended the funding, through the United Nations Development Programme, in December 2022 and Zimbabwe drew down about US$1 million before the bloc cut the aid, which was supposed to run until December 2024 and assist in building institutional capacity of the electoral management body during and outside elections. 

 

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