The European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission to Zimbabwe has hired 60 vehicles, mostly Toyota Fortuners, from the controversial Impala Car Rental which has played an unsavoury role in the abduction and torture of citizens by state security agents for political reasons.

The EU has at least 150 observers on the ground ready for Wednesday’s crucial general elections in Zimbabwe.

The elections will determine what path the country, stuck in a quagmire of political and economic malaise for decades now, takes going forward.

A core team of 11 analysts arrived in Zimbabwe from 8 July 2023. They were joined by 46 long-term and 44 short-term observers.

On election day the mission will be beefed up across the country by locally recruited short-term observers, drawn from embassies, and a delegation from the European Parliament.

The EU election observer mission will comprise on election day over 150 observers from 27 EU member states as well as Canada, Norway and Switzerland.

The EU delegation is based at Holiday Inn hotel in Harare. They are occupying the whole of the fourth floor for their accommodation and logistics. The EU has a permanent mission in Zimbabwe.
For their transport and logistical arrangements, the EU hired about 60 vehicles from Impala, mostly Toyota Fortuner — also known as the Toyota SW4 — a mid-size sports utility vehicle (SUV) manufactured by Japanese automaker Toyota.

A source told a local online: “In total the EU has at least 150 observers. So they have put in place requisite transport and logistical arrangements for the whole group. They have 60 cars from Impala at a cost of between US$150 and US$200 a day.

That is a windfall for Impala. However, this provokes the moral question involved here: Is it right for the EU to subsidise Impala’s human rights abuses and impunity through abductions under its cover?”

Impala found itself engulfed in the eye of a storm in 2020 after its vehicle was used to abduct and torture Tawanda Muchehiwa, a journalism student and nephew to editor Mduduzi Mathuthu.

Muchehiwa was forced to flee the country to the United Kingdom after surviving
horrific abuse.