President Emmerson Manangagwa has said that Zimbabwe is ready to rejoin the Commonwealth and so end the country’s reputation as a pariah state
President Emmerson Manangagwa has said that Zimbabwe is ready to rejoin the Commonwealth and so end the country’s reputation as a pariah state.
He expressed hopes to re-establish Zimbabwe in the international community and open the doors to business.
In a statement at the World Economy Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 24, 2018 President Mnangagwa said that the path was now clear for Zimbabwe to request readmission into the Commonwealth of Nations.
He said that Zimbabwe parted from the Commonwealth over a misunderstanding of the land reform programme taking place at the time, and that this no longer presented a problem as the land expropriation exercise had ended.
Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth in 2003 after former President Mugabe disagreed with the Commonwealth decision to indefinitely suspend the country at the Abuja Summit in 2002.
This was in part due to disagreements and political violence concerning land reforms, but also due to a general election that was disputed by the international community.
Members of the Commonwealth have no legal obligation to each other but are united by the common ethics code set out in the Commonwealth Charter, to which Zimbabwe would have to commit and honour.
This would include an election roadmap, political will to align laws to the constitution, and the establishment of commissions that allow democratic space and procedure.
Rejoining the Commonwealth would bring both political and economic support to Zimbabwe, including assistance with election monitoring and immigration privileges in the UK.
It would also facilitate the re-engagement with other international communities and allow the country to re-enter the international commercial arena.
Commonwealth membership also provides access to the Commonwealth Games, an international sporting event that would be key for Zimbabwean athletes preparing for the Olympics.
Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Games Federation, Ben Nichols, said: “The Commonwealth Games Federation acknowledges that there is a formal process to be taken for counties that wish to apply to join the Commonwealth; this is a process that includes a final membership decision being agreed upon by the 52 Commonwealth Heads of Government.
“If Zimbabwe chooses to apply for reinstatement and subsequently wishes to rejoin the Commonwealth Sport Movement, the Commonwealth Games Federation would welcome any such engagement at that time.”
President Mnangagwa said: “One of the major things which the envoy from Prime Minister Theresa May… said was that Prime Minister May would want to know whether I will be joining the Commonwealth.
“My reply was that … now as far as we are concerned the land reform programme is behind us.
“I believe most of the Commonwealth countries accept that the programme is done, so there is no impediment anymore.”
Read More: The Gambia Ambassador Francis Blain has presented Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland with a formal application to re-enter the Commonwealth, marking the final step of the country’s bid