Govt speaks on EU funding withdrawal to ZEC

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere

GOVERNMENT yesterday said the European Union’s withdrawal of financial support to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will not strain Zimbabwe-EU relations.

It said ZEC, the body in charge of electoral processes, is funded by the State and other funding partners.

The EU announced on Tuesday that it had withdrawn its three-year financial support to the ZEC, worth US$5 million, ostensibly because of irregularities in the August harmonised elections.

President Mnangagwa was re-elected while the ruling Zanu PF party won a majority of Parliamentary, Senate and local councils countrywide.

In a statement last night, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Dr Jenfan Muswere, said although the EU has  suspended financial support to ZEC, the country will continue to foster cordial relations with all the countries in the global village.

“The Government has always maintained the mantra as espoused by His Excellency, President Mnangagwa that Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none, which is also in line with our policy thrust of re-engagement and engagement with all the nations and institutions of the world,” said Dr Muswere.

“We remain fully committed to working with the various institutions and funding partners, including the European Union.

“The ZEC is fully funded by the State through the Consolidated Revenue Fund managed by the National Treasury but the Government has also always welcomed other donor partners whose help is to assist in capacity building and strengthening State institutions.”

He said Government has been consistent in providing ZEC with the required funding for elections.

“We appreciate efforts by the European Union and other donor partners who have chipped in to assist in capacity building through the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF), a vehicle through which donor partners provide electoral assistance.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the EU said it was withdrawing funding from ZEC, citing alleged lack of transparency and independence of the electoral body.

It said it took the decision based on an adverse report on the August 23 elections by its election observers, and a few other groups, mainly Western, that observed the polls.

On its part ZEC said it was  grateful for all funding support it received from the EU and recognises that funding partners are at liberty to interact with it within the confines of the Electoral Act and the laws of Zimbabwe as they deem fit.

“ZEC wants to reiterate that the support received through ZIM-ECO augments what is provided by the State and thus is not solely dependable on the Project itself,” said the electoral body.

In the 2023 election, activities which included voter education, voter registration, voter inspection and polling itself, the Government of Zimbabwe availed millions of dollars against the ZIM-ECO Project support of US$5 million which was projected to cover the tenure of the Project (2022-2024).

“The Government of Zimbabwe has been consistent in providing required funding and has never failed to fund elections in any regard.”

Herald

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