A European Union delegation, tasked with observing the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe, refuted allegations made by a state-owned newspaper on Saturday, asserting their involvement in a bribery scandal.
In the southern African country, which has been largely controlled by the ruling ZANU-PF since its independence in 1980 and has experienced a lengthy history of compromised elections, citizens cast their votes on August 23 to choose a president, lawmakers, and local government councillors.
Referring to undisclosed insiders, The Herald newspaper published a report on Friday, alleging that an EU media team had convened with 18 journalists and distributed whiskey and grocery vouchers in an attempt to sway them into making exaggerated allegations that aim to tarnish the integrity of the entire election process.
The EU election observation mission (EOM) “is astounded by the defamatory and malicious accusations made in an article, published in local Zimbabwean media,” said head of the delegation Fabio Massimo Castaldo.
“These allegations are based on unsubstantiated rumours and entirely fabricated,” his statement said.
The EU is among various foreign organizations that have been invited to monitor the tense elections.
Additional entities overseeing the elections encompass the African Union, the Commonwealth, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
While a total of twelve candidates are in the running for the presidency, the primary contest revolves around President Emmerson Mnangagwa, aged 80, and Nelson Chamisa, aged 45.
The election will take place in a nation grappling with issues such as corruption, inflation, poverty, and unemployment.