EUROPEAN Union (EU) human rights envoy Eamon Gilmore has met the ruling Zanu PF and opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party leaders as the European bloc ratchets pressure on Harare to conduct credible polls in 2023.
Gilmore is Ireland’s former Deputy Prime Minister, and former Foreign Affairs and Trade minister (2011- 14). Since 2015, he has been the EU special envoy for the peace process in Colombia.
EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Jobst von Kirchmann yesterday said Gilmore had met Zanu PF’s finance secretary Patrick Chinamasa and CCC leader Nelson Chamisa.
“EU special representative for human rights Eamon Gilmore met with the two main political parties, CCC and Zanu PF. He recalled the importance of credible and peaceful 2023 elections and encouraged everyone to keep a respectful and non-violent rhetoric,” he tweeted.
The meeting comes barely a week after the EU, which is warming up to Harare, urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to conduct a fair and credible election in 2023 to ensure the country achieves peace and stability.
The European bloc has pledged US$5,9 million to Zec for the smooth running of the 2023 harmonised elections.
“A credible election will allow Zimbabwe to create a prosperous environment, and will help the country to achieve its national development strategy. When I presented my credentials to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in October, I asked him how the EU can support the electoral process next year. He suggested that we support Zec. I think it’s a good thing because the EU is committed to support Zimbabwe to hold credible and peaceful elections in 2023 and beyond,” Kirchmann said.
He said the support for Zec would be complemented by civil society, which will conduct programmes on advocacy, voter education, monitoring and electoral litigation.