Zimbabwe begins process to re-join Commonwealth

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has written to the Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland seeking Zimbabwe’s re-admission in the organisation 15 years after former President Robert Mugabe unilaterally withdrew the country in 2003.

BY CHARLES LAITON

However, Scotland has urged Zimbabwe’s government, opposition parties, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, civil society, and all stakeholders, “to play their part in ensuring a credible, peaceful and inclusive process that restores citizens’ confidence, trust and hope”, as the country seeks re-admission into the organisation.

Scotland made the remarks yesterday in response to Mnangagwa’s application dated May 15, 2018.

“I urge the government, opposition parties, the election management body, civil society, and all stakeholders, to play their part in ensuring a credible, peaceful and inclusive process that restores citizens’ confidence, trust and hope in the development and democratic trajectory of their country,” she said.

“I whole-heartedly echo the sentiments of Heads of Government, who have said twice, in 2009 and subsequently in 2011, that they very much look forward to Zimbabwe’s return when the conditions are right. Zimbabwe’s eventual return to the Commonwealth, following a successful membership application, would be a momentous occasion, given our shared rich history,” Scotland said.

United Kingdom foreign secretary Boris Johnson said on Twitter: “Fantastic news that Zimbabwe wishes to rejoin the Commonwealth. Wonderful that this follows productive talks at April’s Commonwealth Summit in London. Zimbabwe must now show commitment to Commonwealth values of democracy and human rights.”

Zimbabwe joined the Commonwealth on its independence in 1980.

Scotland said, to re-join, the country must demonstrate that it complies with the fundamental values set out in the Commonwealth Charter, including democracy and rule of law, plus protection of human rights such as freedom of expression.

Zimbabwe has also invited the Commonwealth to observe its forthcoming elections in July and Scotland said the secretariat was now mobilising a team of observers to do so, adding their observations would form part of the secretary-general’s informal
assessment.

1 Comment

  1. This is good, really good.
    It also gives our athletes a chance to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

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