By Alois Vinga
THE European Union (EU) is set to table a report on the country’s electoral environment shortly after a recent visit by the Western bloc’s observer mission to assess progress on recommendations made on the 2018 general elections.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday, EU’s head of delegation to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen said the high powered team which visited Zimbabwe will publish the observations.
“Pretty soon, the EU Electoral Observation Mission will publish its report from the observations they made in Zimbabwe. We are waiting for their assessment, which came out of the exercise.
“As you are aware, in 2018, the EU’s observation mission made 23 recommendations to Zimbabwe and then the follow up mission visited the country to assess the progress made on the recommendations. So we are waiting for the assessment to take note of the latest developments,” he said.
He said on the economic front, there are a number of issues that are pulling back the Western bloc’s investments from flowing into Zimbabwe.
The concerns include the foreign currency retention, repatriation of profits, security of ownership, level playing field, procurement and corruption and tenure in the agricultural sector.
Quizzed on whether the re-engagement efforts by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration will likely exert positive transformation of the country’s image, the top envoy hinted that the efforts have not yielded much.
“I understand that there have been ongoing processes on those but questions still exist. Concerns from the EU still recur. These are ongoing processes; our indicator is what European stakeholders think about it. Most of them believe that there is still work to be done,” he said.
The Western bloc has continuously renewed sanctions on Mnangagwa’s administration over the years, arguing he has done very little to depart from the old ways of corruption and human rights abuses exhibited by his predecessor, late former President Robert Mugabe.
Commenting on the likely outcomes of the soon to be tabled report on the country’s electoral landscape, academic and political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza predicted that nothing really new will emerge.
“While I cannot say much on something I have not read, I don’t see any change of stance in the forthcoming report. The organ has observed the country’s elections since 2000 producing similar reports. Worse still, nothing much has really changed on the political terrain, so a change of stance cannot be expected,” he said.