EU cuts off US$5 million funding in bid to force Harare to reform


HARARE — The European Union (EU) has notified its intention to suspend its US$5 million financial support for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) over the commission’s mishandling of the August 2023 election. 

EU cuts financial support to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission project

Observers believe this is a pressure tactic to push Harare to reform.

The EU-funded project, managed by UNDP, aimed to enhance ZEC’s capacity to conduct the entire electoral cycle, not just the elections.

However, the project is now frozen after disputed elections and allegations that ZEC is biased towards the ruling party Zanu PF.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa won the presidential vote by mail 52.6 percent.

The EU signed the Financing Agreement with the Ministry of Finance in November 2022 and joined the ZIM-ECO2 project with UNDP in December 2022, contributing a total of US$4.7 million. 

About one million Euros (US$1.07m) have been spent so far.

In a statement today, the EU said it has formally notified both the Ministry of Finance and Investment Promotion and ZEC of its intention to suspend its support for the ZEC project.

The EU said several international Electoral Observation Missions (EOMs), including its own, have raised concerns about ZEC’s independence and transparency during the 2023 harmonised elections.

“The EU contributes together with other donors to a UNDP-managed project aiming at enhancing ZEC’s institutional and technical capabilities to fulfil its constitutional mandate,” the EU said.

"Due to these concerns and in line with responsible management of EU development cooperation funds, the EU has started a process to suspend its contribution to this project.

“The EU strongly emphasises the vital role of electoral management bodies as independent and transparent institutions that can deliver credible and inclusive electoral processes that earn the trust of citizens.”

The EU added that it is willing to resume its support if Zimbabwe makes efforts to improve its electoral processes and align them with the regional and international standards that it has signed.

“The European Union will keep monitoring developments in Zimbabwe and reaffirms its commitment to work with the government, independent commissions, civil society, and other stakeholders in promoting democracy, human rights and rule of law.”

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