Disputed election leads to suspension of US$5 million EU support for ZEC
The European Union (EU) has suspended its US$5 million support for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) following the 23 August disputed harmonised general election.
The plebiscite was marred by serious irregularities including but not limited to late ballot delivery and voter intimidation and suppression.
International observers like the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and European Union (EU) concluded that the elections fell short of the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the region.
Incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa won the election with 52,6% against opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa’s 44%.
Chamisa however refused to endorse the result and called for fresh polls supervised by SADC.
It would appear the EU has taken action over the debacle and suspended funding citing the questionable independence of ZEC.
“The European Union (EU) has formally communicated its intention to suspend its 5 million USD financial support for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to both the Ministry of Finance and Investment Promotion and ZEC.
“The project supporting ZEC, which is managed by UNDP and scheduled to run until December 2024, 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,” read the statement.
“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 contributes together with other donors to a UNDP-managed project aiming at enhancing ZEC’s institutional and technical capabilities to fulfill its constitutional mandate.
“In response to these concerns and in adherence to responsible management of EU development cooperation funds, the EU has initiated a procedure to suspend its contribution to this project.
“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 bringing such processes closer to the regional and international standards that Zimbabwe has signed.
“The European Union will 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.”
The suspension of the three year fund is a major testament to the fact that the electoral body failed to provide a free, fair and credible election, a view also backed by the regional SADC and EU observer teams.