The European Union on Monday handed over €6 million (US$5.9 million) to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in support of preparations for general elections next year.
This was revealed at the signing ceremony for the EU’s €47 million package to support activities of the Ministry of Health and Child Care and ZEC.
The funding is part of the overall EU kitty amounting to €148 million allocated to Zimbabwe under the 2021-2027 Multi Annual Indicative Programme.
Speaking at the signing occasion, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Jobst von Kirchmann said the funding would help strengthen the capacity of ZEC.
“Strengthening the capacity of independent commissions to deliver on their mandates is one of the strategies of the national development strategy. Thus, the EU support will contribute to enhancing the institutional and technical capacity of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to fulfil its mandate,” he said.
“The EU is committed to support Zimbabwe to hold credible and peaceful elections in 2023 and beyond.”
He said the support to ZEC would be complemented with assistance provided to civil society by the EU on advocacy, voter education, monitoring and electoral litigation.
The United Nations Development Programme will administer the funding.
ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said previous EU funding had enabled ZEC to undertake various capacity building programmes.
“We appreciate the unwavering support from the EU towards democratisation of electoral processes through the ZIM-ECO capacity building project. The ZIM-ECO project is very instrumental in assisting us with our multi-party liaison committees; instead of holding them towards elections we now hold them periodically, in fact four times a year,” she said.
“The Zim-ECO project is also instrumental in supporting various and important polling processes. Support from the outgoing project went towards the delimitation exercise which we are at the tail end of and I know that the incoming finance will assist us with the harmonised elections next year.”
Speaking at the same event, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube said the two financing agreements consisted of one on Improving Health Outcomes for the Population of Zimbabwe (€41 million, approximately US$40 million), and Support to the Zimbabwean Electoral Process (€6 million, approximately US$5.9 million).
On support given to ZEC, Ncube said it would contribute to the consolidation of democracy and peace.
“I would like to applaud the EU for extending capacity support to the ZEC as well as contributing to democratic processes in Zimbabwe. I’m confident that this support will build upon previous interventions, and strengthen ZEC to carry out its mandate efficiently,” he added.
Reacting to the announcement, Citizens Coalition for Change treasurer David Coltart said: “Both of these grants made by the EU are critically important for Zimbabweans. No-one disputes the health grant is needed. However, given the biased nature of ZEC and all the shenanigans around the voters roll and voter registration, how is this money going to help a lawful process?”