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EU Calls for Zimbabwe to Implement Electoral Reforms Ahead of 2023 Polls


File - Supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party of President Emmerson Mnangagwa celebrate following general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 31, 2018.

Elmar Brok, the head of the EU electoral mission, told reporters Friday that as Zimbabwe prepares for next year’s elections, it must amend its electoral laws so that all parties have a fair chance of winning at the polls.

Brok and his team were assigned to Zimbabwe by Brussels to share their findings after their first visit to Zimbabwe during the July 2018 elections.

In an interview with VOA, Brok, a German national, said the mission gave Zimbabwean officials 23 recommendations for “genuine” electoral reforms.

Elmar Brok, the head of the EU electoral mission to Zimbabwe, told reporters May 20, 2022, in Harare that as Zimbabwe prepares for next year’s elections, it must amend its electoral laws. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)
Elmar Brok, the head of the EU electoral mission to Zimbabwe, told reporters May 20, 2022, in Harare that as Zimbabwe prepares for next year’s elections, it must amend its electoral laws. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)


“It has to do with even playing field, the impartiality of the [state] media, equal treatment of the parties, a proper voters’ registration, there is a multipart liaison committee, there will be proper conducting of elections, the conduct on election day – the transparency – and then counting and the collection of the counting to the final results. If that is transparently clear, no loopholes, then it’s the best way to have peace in the country, because nobody says there was something wrong with the elections, to get the credibility of elections.”

Zimbabwe officials would not comment Friday on Brok’s statement.

Earlier, though, Raphael Faranisi, the acting permanent secretary in Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, said the government is looking forward to June 7, when Harare and Brussels officials meet.

“This will be yet another opportunity to candidly assess progress to date and plan for the future, based on realistic expectations. I have heard concerns expressed with respect to development in Zimbabwe. But I just want to put it on record that, in terms of the reforms that we have carried out, the challenge is: I just want you to give me three, four countries on our continent that have really done better than us. For those that have been following closely development in Zimbabwe, we are on that reform trajectory and it's not reversible.”

The EU and Zimbabwe have had strained relations since 2002, when the former imposed sanctions on the African nation's leadership following reports of election rigging and human rights abuses. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)
The EU and Zimbabwe have had strained relations since 2002, when the former imposed sanctions on the African nation's leadership following reports of election rigging and human rights abuses. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)

For years, Zimbabwe’s elections have been marred by violence, voter intimidation and allegations of rigging, leading to disputed results.

When President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeded Robert Mugabe in 2017, Mnangagwa promised to improve how elections are held but the opposition continues to accuse the ruling Zanu-PF party and the government of manipulating the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

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