The European Union (EU) has formally communicated its intention to suspend $5 financial support for the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC) to both the Ministry of Finance and Investment Promotion and the agency.
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 elections.
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,” said the EU in a statement.
“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 said it 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,” it said.