The European Union observer mission (EUOM) said Zimbabwe’s Parliament has not responded to its request for a meeting to assess progress on the implementation of electoral reform recommendations.

The EU mission made 23 recommendations after the disputed elections in 2018, for the country to hold free and fair polls.

The recommendations included the alignment of the Electoral Act to the Constitution and respecting the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

On Friday last week, EU election follow-up head of mission Elmar Brok told journalists in Harare that the EUOM had met ZEC, civil society organisations, government ministries, the ruling ZANU PF party and opposition political parties among other organisations.

He, however, said they failed to meet Parliament, to check progress on the implementation of the recommended electoral reforms. Said Brok:

The Electoral Follow up Meeting (EFM) sent a request for meetings to be organised with the Speaker of the National Assembly and the President of the Senate during the visit of the Chief of Mission, but unfortunately, we did not receive any response.

The experts will be there this week and we hope they will be able to meet with representatives of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committees.

Given that many of the recommendations provided for in the 2018 EUOM reports were on legal reforms, the EFM considers it crucial to meet with representatives from Parliament.

However, Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda denied the claims, saying that Parliament had made provisions to meet EUOM. Chokuda said:

Why are they coming to the media when they know where to find Parliament?

They gave dates up to the end of this month and the time has not lapsed. We have made provisions to meet with them.

If they have any problems they should come to Parliament.

The EUOM’s preliminary report says Zimbabwe has failed to implement electoral reforms to guarantee free and fair elections next year.

The EU mission final report is expected in early June.

Source: NewsDay