EU To Observe Zim Elections Again
27 June 2023
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The European Union (EU) has accepted Zimbabwe’s invite to observe the country’s elections due August 23 this year.

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Jobst von Kirchmann said the invitation to observe polls ‘demonstrates the trust, cooperation and partnership’ between the government and the grouping.

“The EU warmly welcomes the invitation from the Government of Zimbabwe to observe the harmonised elections of 2023 in Zimbabwe.

“This invitation clearly demonstrates the trust, cooperation, and partnership between Zimbabwe and the EU,” he said in a tweet.

In the 2018 elections, the EU deployed about 88 observers, later reporting that “the political climate has improved, (…) but unequal opportunities (between candidates), voter intimidation and lack of confidence in the electoral process have undermined the pre-electoral environment”.

Last week, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) invited applications for accreditation from persons and organisations wishing to observe the country’s high stakes poll.

Accreditation fees for local observers this year has been pegged at US$10 per individual while those from the African continent shall pay US$100 each.

Observer fees for those manning foreign embassies in Zimbabwe have been pegged at US$300 while those from any country outside Africa will each pay US$400.

The fees for local media practitioners accredited with the Zimbabwe Media Commission and working for foreign media houses is US$100 as is the case with those from the African continent while local media practitioners accredited with the ZMC pay US$10.

However, observers from the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the SADC Parliamentary Forum, the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC, electoral bodies in African countries and embassies from African countries are exempt from paying any fees.

Legal think- tank Veritas criticised the fees for allegedly discouraging local and international organisations from seeking observer accreditation.

“Proper election observation enhances the fairness, transparency and credibility of elections and also encourages all parties contesting elections to accept the results.

“The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and the SADC Principles and Guidelines on Elections both emphasize the importance of independent observers in ensuring that elections are transparent, credible and democratic. Zimbabwe is a party to both those instruments,” it said.