The British Parliament says plans are afoot for its government to ensure that democratic reforms are instituted in Zimbabwe to avoid systematic electoral fraud in the upcoming 2023 referendum, Josey News Network has observed.
Speaking in the House of Lords for the United Kingdom, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Baroness Sugg Tuesday said the United Kingdom (UK) had a lot to do to ensure a level playing field in the upcoming Zimbabwean elections.
She said this after Lord Hayward had asked what the UK government, European Union and Commonwealth were doing to ensure Zimbabwe’s 2023 elections would be free and fair.
“My Lords, my noble friend just made reference to democracy in Zimbabwe, which is clearly sadly lacking.
“Could she give an indication of the work that this Government are undertaking with the EU and Commonwealth in relation to preparations for the next elections because, if the groundwork is not done now in relation to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, constituencies and free access to the media, the next elections will be stolen like so many others?” Hayward asked.
Sugg responded saying key international stakeholders were engaging to ensure democracy is achieved in Zimbabwe before elections.
“My Lords, I agree with my noble friend. As we look forward to the elections in 2023, a lot needs to be done to ensure a level playing field.
“The 2018 elections were an acknowledged improvement, but our observer mission still highlighted significant shortcomings. We will continue to engage with the Commonwealth and the EU, alongside the Government of Zimbabwe, on the observer-mission recommendations,” she said.
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa rose to power through a military coup that ousted late former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017.
In 2018, the country went for a presidential election. Mnangagwa controversially won an election associated with intimidation of rural people by Zanu PF supporters.
On 1 August 2018, a day after the plebiscite, a demonstration was held in Harare by main opposition MDC Alliance supporters who demanded early release of election results.
Six people were killed by armed soldiers during the protests, a dozen massively injured. Two years now, Mnangagwa’s government has not done any prosecution of the perpetrators of civilian shootings.