15 years after, Zimbabwe applies to rejoin Commonwealth
President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa may have started making good his promises to rebuild Zimbabwe’s international ties.
Mnangagwa has written to Commonwealth, seeking readmission of his country. It is now 15 years after Zimbabwe, under the watch of Robert Mugabe, left the group.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said she was delighted to receive a letter from Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, dated 15 May.
However, she added they would only return “when the conditions are right”.
In a statement released on the Commonwealth’s website, Baroness Scotland 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.”
Zimbabwe withdrew from the 53 country-strong Commonwealth in 2003, having initially joined in 1980, after its membership was suspended amid reports of election rigging.
President Mugabe rejected previous attempts to bring the country back into the group.
The Commonwealth statement said the country would have to comply 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” before being allowed to rejoin.
Commonwealth observers have been invited to attend this year’s elections in Zimbabwe – a process which will now form part of the informal assessment which will be carried out as part of the application.
The other member countries will also be consulted, the statement added.