The European Union (EU) has maintained that Zimbabwe must fully implement the 2018 election observer mission recommendations (EOM) before the 2023 polls.
The call was made when Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs minister Frederick Shava on Monday met the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen for the first time in Brussels. In a tweet on Monday, Urpilainen said:
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First meeting with FM Zimbabwe @ShavaHon. A comprehensive discussion covering bilateral relations, COVID-19 response, future co-operation and complex regional situations. I reiterated the need to fully implement political and economic reforms, including EOM recommendations.
In a preliminary statement after the disputed 2018 polls, the EU observer mission noted electoral malpractices such as “bias in State media” in favour of Zanu PF, adding this meant “that a truly level playing field was not achieved.”
Some of the reforms include the need to implement recommendations by the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry which investigated the post-election violence of August 1, 2018, including ensuring that those responsible for abuses are held accountable.
Last week, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network which has been tracking progress on the implementation of the EOM recommendations, expressed concern that “most remain unattended at a time when Zimbabwe is barely two years away from yet another set of harmonised elections in 2023.”
Opposition MDC Alliance’s secretary for international relations Gladys Hlatshwayo Tuesday welcomed Urpilainen’s demands for electoral reforms noting that the democratic space was shrinking.
But Zanu PF acting spokesperson Mike Bimha said electoral reforms did not happen overnight adding that the government is keen on re-engagement and reforms.