THE European Union recently dispatched an exploratory delegation to assess Zimbabwe’s preparedness to hold free and fair elections, as well as to gauge the legislative climate ahead of the 2023 polls.
The delegation was in the country for 10 days.
Following the visit, the delegation will prepare a report of its observations and submit it to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the government for comments.
A reliable source told The NewsHawks that the EU team made extensive observations and met different stakeholders to hear their views on Zimbabwe’s preparedness to hold free and fair elections expected in August this year.
“They were exploring the electoral environment, the political climate as well as the legislative situation in the country to assess whether the existing laws may not be an impediment to the holding of free and free and fair elections.
“The team met various players that are knowledgeable about the existing situation and the political climate obtaining in the country. They will present their findings to the government and Mnangagwa so that they get their comments,” said the source.
The EU will be waiting to see if the government will invite its mission to come and observe the watershed elections.
In the disputed 2018 elections, the EU observer mission presented its findings through chief observer Elmar Brok, member of the European Parliament, to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), the government, Parliament, civil society and political parties.
The report outlined shortfalls which included problems with the legal framework, the role of the electoral commission, and various abuses of human rights and political rights of the opposition.
It urged reforms accompanied by the requisite political will of all stakeholders.
The EU urged the government of Zimbabwe to prioritise the furtherance of democratic transition in the country.
The recommendations made by the bloc after the 2018 elections included the need for Zimbabwe to address four key areas: the independence of the Zec, improved level playing field, the legal framework and the inclusiveness of the process.