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EU concerned about Mnangagwa reluctance on electoral reforms

The European Union (EU) election observer mission has warned President Emmerson Mnangagwa that if he fails to address problems around voter registration, constituency delimitation among other reforms, he risks undermining prospects of a free, fair and credible 2023 election.

The EU deployed a Follow-up Mission to Zimbabwe to assess the status of implementation of the recommendations of the EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) of 2018 and discuss ways to achieve further progress on electoral reform in view of the 2023 elections.

According to a statement, the mission was headed by Elmar Brok, former Member of the European Parliament and Chief Observer of the EU EOM of the 2018 Harmonised Elections in Zimbabwe.

The Follow-up Mission met with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the Zimbabwe Media Commission, several ministries, political parties, civil society organisations, media and the international community.

In a press conference in Harare on Friday, Brok encouraged all election stakeholders to engage in good faith to push for electoral reforms.

“We strongly encourage all political parties, in consultation with civil society, to engage in good faith deliberations to amend the electoral legislation well in advance of the 2023 elections to avoid uncertainty and allow sufficient time for implementation and voter education.

“The government and the Parliament carry here special responsibilities. The goal must be free, transparent, credible and impartial elections,” he said.

The EU also noted that to date, progress on the implementation of the EU EOM recommendations has been limited, with the majority of the priority ones not yet adequately addressed.

Brok further emphasised “If the authorities and the legislators do not address recurring problems related to voter registration, constituency delimitation, level playing field in the campaign, partisan behaviour of traditional leaders and public administration, freedoms of expression, assembly and of the media, they will undermine progress towards achieving an environment conducive to a greater level of public trust in the electoral process and peaceful elections.”

Zimbabwe is set to hold harmonised elections in 2023.