EU says no to early elections

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The European Union (EU) has urged political parties in Zimbabwe to reach an agreement on a roadmap towards holding free and fair, internationally monitored elections, saying early polls would not resolve outstanding political and economic reform issues.

A release issued after a sitting of the European Parliament last week said the EU would not recognise any Zimbabwe ambassador to the economic bloc “who is not nominated on the basis of due constitutional process and in compliance with the GPA”.

President Robert Mugabe appointed Margaret Muchada as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the EU, but Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai urged the EU not to recognise her because she was appointed unilaterally.

Talks to come up with an election roadmap between the negotiation teams of the parties to the GPA are underway with Zanu PF pushing for an early snap election, while the MDC-T says it can only participate in an election that is free and fair.

The EU said any elections in Zimbabwe must be based on international norms, including respect for human rights, freedom of expression and movement, and an immediate end to harassment and detention of individuals based on their political views.

The bloc cited cases of alleged harassment of MDC-T officials, supporters and civil society activists.

The EU said all political parties in Zimbabwe must fully re-engage in the ongoing constitutional reform process and must come up with a new Zimbabwean Constitution acceptable to all citizens before going to polls.

The constitutional committee says the national referendum on the new constitution can only be held in September at the earliest.

The EU said it would continue to avoid government agencies and would channel all its aid through non-governmental organisations.

But Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo immediately scoffed at the suggestion, and urged the EU to stop interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

“The EU has nothing to do with whatever is going on in Zimbabwe,” Gumbo said.

“They are imposing themselves on Zimbabwe. We are following the GPA which says elections shall be held after two years.”

He added: “They are the ones who are violating the Cotonou Agreement between Africa and them which says everything must be done through dialogue but they went on to impose sanctions on us. We will not listen to that.”