EU mission deploys observers, promises impartiality

Sofia Mapuranga

Harare—The European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) on Wednesday deployed 46 observers who it said would ensure non-interference as they carry out their mandate ahead of, during and after the 23 August harmonised polls.

The EU observers will cover all the 10 provinces, including hard-to-reach areas.

They arrived in Zimbabwe on 22 July and are expected to report back to the mission in Harare.

Addressing the media at a local hotel, the EOM deputy chief observer, Beata Martin Rozumilowics, said the observers were in Zimbabwe at the invitation of the government.

EU EOM deputy chief observer, Beata Martin Rozumilowics

“We have an invitation from the authorities in Zimbabwe to observe these elections. We also have an administrative agreement which has been signed between the EU and the Zimbabwean government which allows us access to all parts of the electoral) process,” said Rozumilowics:

“We want to better understand how the elections are developing, their various aspects…the way that the campaign is going and the critical role of the media.

“All these critical elements will be looked at, analysed and reflected in the preliminary report by the EU observer mission,” she added.

She emphasised the need for the observers to be neutral.

“We maintain the strict principle of non- interference. We are here to observe and not monitor elections. This means that we will do this in an independent and impartial way. We will not be commenting on the electoral processes…and we will make the statement (reflecting the mission’s observations) two days after the elections,” she said.

The EU EOM delegation is being led by the chief observer, Fabio Massimo Castaldo.

The mission will also look into all campaign activities, the role of state public institutions and civil society as well as election-related legal frameworks, in addition to actual voting, results tabulation, emerging complaints and appeals and the participation of women and marginalised groups.

It will remain in Zimbabwe to observe post-election developments

A final report with recommendations for future elections will be published two months after the elections.

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