The European Union (EU) says the upcoming 2018 harmonised elections are a critical test of the country’s reform process.
Addressing journalists on Friday in Harare, Elmar Brok, chief observer of the the EU Election Observation Mission said it was essential for the elections to be held in free, fair and credible manner.
“These elections are a critical test of Zimbabwe’s reform process. Given the context of the past elections, great efforts need to be made to ensure public and political confidence in the 2018 polls. Necessary efforts include transparency and inclusivity, confidence in the integrity of the voters roll, emphasis on secrecy of the vote and peaceful conduct of the polls,” he said.
The chief observer said EU will conduct a comprehensive and impartial analysis of the whole electoral process.
“The presence of EU election observation mission demonstrates the European Union’s commitment to the conduct of peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible elections in Zimbabwe. The EU wishes to accompany Zimbabwean people and stands ready to engage further if the appropriate conditions are met. Elections are, in this regard an essential step in the long and challenging reform process.
“We have hope the presence of EU observers can be source of support for the conduct of credible elections our observations not only on the election day , but on the entire electoral process , including the environment for the polls , conduct of the campaign , results transmission and the resolution of any election related legal disputes after voting had finished. In making our assessment we will consider the environment and context for the polls alongside election day,” said Brok.
He said the EU team will comprise of 140 people observing the election.
“A core team of analysts arrived in Harare on June 6 2018. Forty-four long term observers arrived two weeks later and are deployed to all ten provinces to observe the process in urban and rural areas. A further forty-four short term observers will reinforce the mission before Election Day. They will be joined by a seven person delegation from European parliament, as well as diplomats of EU member states and partner countries , bringing the mission’s strength on and around election day to some 140 persons,” he said.
Brok has also held fruitful discussions with President Emmerson Mnangagwa , the chair of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Justice Priscilla Chigumba , political parties and candidates , civil society and other stake holders.