MRP seeks to meet Commonwealth team


THE Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has begged to meet the Commonwealth team currently in the country to assess Zimbabwe’s eligibility to rejoin the grouping.

MRP claims that the Zanu PF-led government has been marginalising Matabeleland provinces and meeting the team would help it air its grievances.

The Commonwealth delegation, led by the club’s assistant secretary-general Luis Franceschi is on a week-long fact-finding mission and will meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa, diplomats posted to the country, political parties, media and members of civic society.

In letters dated November 12 addressed to Angela Kolongo, spokesperson of the Commonwealth secretariat and Patricia Scotland KC, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, MRP president Mqondisi Moyo appealed to the club to seriously consider the state of people in Matabeleland.

Moyo pleaded that his party be part of the stakeholders who will meet the Commonwealth team.

“MRP is a political party fighting for the emancipation of Matabeleland. I wrote to the Commonwealth last year. In the email, I presented a detailed account of the Mthwakazi issue: How the nation was joined with Mashonaland in 1923 by the colonial powers,” Moyo’s letter to Kolongo and Scotland KC read.

“The result was Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Life is hell for the people of Matabeleland in Zimbabwe, hence our call for self-determination. I am informed that the Secretariat of the Commonwealth is visiting Zimbabwe to assess the country’s suitability for readmission to the Commonwealth.”

Moyo demanded to know if there is a possibility of the Commonwealth team meeting stakeholders other than government.

“My request to you is that MRP be one of the stakeholders the team will meet. We have a story to tell. We have a message that needs a voice. Our story is unique. Lack of attention has crippled the lives of the people of Matabeleland. Our situation cannot be generalised based on conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe.”

The Commonwealth is yet to respond to his letter.

The team assesses the country as Mnangagwa’s government is accused of crafting draconian laws such as the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill, perpetrating human rights abuses, failing to implement electoral reforms and not acting on political violence and incarceration of opposition activists.

On Monday, the group met Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Frederick Shava, Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima.

The Commonwealth team is expected to assess the country’s preparedness to rejoin the group of former British colonies after Harare pulled out in 2003 at the height of a controversial land reform programme, which resulted in white former commercial farmers being violently removed from their farms to pave way for black ownership.

Franceschi said the group would make a report after meeting several stakeholders.

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