Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, has addressed the Pan-African Parliament during her tour to Lesotho and South Africa.
The Secretary-General is on a week-long visit to Lesotho and South Africa to hold meetings with leaders in both countries and key stakeholders to discuss issues of mutual interest and address bilateral and global issues affecting the Commonwealth.
Scotland arrived in Maseru, Lesotho on 27 October, where she attended the inauguration ceremony of the newly-elected Prime Minister, Sam Matekane, following the recently concluded General Elections held on 7 October.
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In Lesotho, the Secretary-General held an audience with His Majesty King Letsie III, and later with Prime Minister Matekane, to discuss the Commonwealth Secretariat’s continued support to the country.
After arriving in South Africa, the Secretary-General attended the handover ceremony of the certificate of recognition to King Misuzulu KaZwelithini on 29 October.
She finally attended the official opening ceremony of the Pan-African Parliament on 31 October, where she delivered a statement as the first ever Commonwealth Secretary-General to address the assembly.
Assuring her full support, Scotland asserted that all 21 African countries members will always have a friend and ally in her and the Commonwealth to deliver shared goals for a safer, healthier and prosperous Africa.
The Secretary-General is expected to pay a visit to Zimbabwe later this month to address the country’s re-admission into the Commonwealth.
During her address to the Pan-African Parliament, Scotland said the Secretariat has made its assessment and it will then report back on Zimbabwe’s suitability to re-join the bloc.
“On the question of re-admission of Zimbabwe into the Commonwealth, Zimbabwe has made an application to come home (get back into the Commonwealth fold) and re-joining or joining is a three-stage process,” she said.
“The stage where we are now with regards to Zimbabwe is that the Commonwealth Secretariat will visit the country in November this year and this team will assess the situation on the ground and then report back so that all members of the Commonwealth can come up with a position on Zimbabwe’s application to re-join.”
The Secretary-General said she was “delighted that Zimbabwe is putting a great deal of energy and commitment to be re-admitted back into the Commonwealth”.
The country was suspended in 2002 for breaching the Harare Declaration, which sets out the Commonwealth’s core principles and values.
In 2003, when the Commonwealth refused to lift the suspension, Zimbabwe withdrew from the organisation.