The European Union Election Observation Mission chief observer in the 2018 election, Elmar Brok has urged Zimbabwean authorities to address and implement recommendations raised by the mission in 2018 in time to ensure an undisputed 2023 plebiscite.
An EU Election Follow-up Mission has been deployed to Zimbabwe to assess the status of implementation of the recommendations of the Election Observation Mission (EOM) of 2018 and discuss ways to achieve further progress on electoral reform in view of the 2023 elections.
Addressing journalists in Harare, Brok said the mission had met various stakeholders including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
“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. The 2018 EU EOM proposed 23 recommendations, including 10 priority ones, aiming at aligning the Electoral Act with the 2013 Constitution, strengthening the independence of the ZEC and increasing its information-sharing throughout the electoral process,
“Improving voter registration as well as the transparency, verifiability and integrity of the results management process, introducing legal measures to mitigate abuse of state resources, developing regulations on political party financing, reforming the state-owned media to fully guarantee their independence and impartiality, and holding regular meetings of the Multi-Party Liaison Committees throughout the electoral process.
“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.” said Brok.
He said failure to address the continuous electoral challenges will result in undermining of public trust regarding electoral processes.
“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 greater level of public trust in the electoral process and peaceful elections.” he said.