Commonwealth team swayed into considering Zimbabwe readmission

Phillipa Jaja

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi’s impassioned plea for the country’s readmission into the Commonwealth has struck a chord with Commonwealth assistant secretary-general Luis Franceschi who has recognised the country’s impressive progress in aligning its Constitution with the Commonwealth Charter.

He was quoted as saying;

“The conclusion that we got from everybody that we met is yes, Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe want to be part of the Commonwealth and family of 56 nations.”

Minister Ziyambi had in his exit speech cited a number of people-centred reforms meant to show the considerable strides the Second Republic has made from the previous Mugabe led government.

He outlined the phenomenal progress made with regards to legislative, electoral and political reforms through inclusive consultations among all stakeholders.

He espoused further on key points raised by Zimbabwe’s foreign affairs and international trade minister, Fredrick Shava, in his welcome speech.

A case in point which he referred to was the misconceptions and misinformation regarding human rights abuse in the country saying they were stage managed to coincide with international major events.

“Zimbabwe has absolutely no reason to abduct its own citizens. It is in fact one of the safest and most peaceful place in the world for its citizens and visitors.”

Zimbabwe applied to re-join the Commonwealth after former president Robert Mugabe had withdrawn following an indefinite suspension in 2003.

This is the Commonwealth’s third assessment visit to Zimbabwe since 2019.

The re-joining process is a four-stage exercise, whereby firstly there is an informal assessment undertaken by the secretary-general following an expression of interest by an aspirant country.

Then consultation by the secretary-general with member states followed by an invitation to the interested country to make a formal application.

Last, a formal application presenting evidence of the functioning of democratic processes and popular support in that country for joining the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth was founded in 1926 and is one of the world’s largest political organisations. It is made up of 56 countries spread across six continents.

Originally, it was made up of former British colonies but the last four countries to join the Commonwealth – Rwanda, Mozambique, Gabon, and Togo – have no historical ties to the British Empire.

Commonwealth member countries benefit from belonging to a mutually supportive community of independent and sovereign states, which is supported by over 80 Commonwealth organisations.

The Commonwealth Secretariat, founded in 1965, assists member countries in their efforts to achieve development, democracy, and peace. 

The group champions young people and a voice for small and vulnerable states.

It also assists in strengthening governance, establishing inclusive institutions, and promoting justice and human rights.

The Commonwealth contributes to the growth of economies and trade, the empowerment of young people, and the addressing of threats such as climate change, debt, and inequality.

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