Commonwealth happy with Zimbabwe progress

The Chronicle

Hebert Zharare in Luanda, Angola
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday held high-level talks with Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland, who emerged from the meeting happy with the conversations held so far regarding Zimbabwe’s readmission into the club.
The discussions were held on the sidelines of the Organisation of African Caribbean Pacific (OACP) countries’ 10th Summit that is running under theme; “Three Continents, Three Occasions and One Destiny”.

Zimbabwe, then under the leadership of the late former President Mugabe, withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003, but the Second Republic has embarked on an engagement and re-engagement mission targeting to mend and establish relations with old and new partners as the country moves to regain its rightful position among the comity of nations.
Baroness Scotland, who was in Zimbabwe recently pursuing the readmission agenda, emerged from a meeting with President Mnangagwa delighted.

She was accompanied by Ms Debra Jamieson, chief of staff and senior director in her office.
“We had a very jovial meeting with the President and my team has visited Zimbabwe to speak to all sectors, the Government and the civil society so that we have a good outline on what needs to be done and it was a good meeting,” said Baroness Scotland.

“We are in the process and the process is going on very well and we will allow it to continue. The President has expressed total commitment to that which is necessary in order for Zimbabwe to come back to the Commonwealth and so we are all going to work very hard.”

Zimbabwe holds harmonised elections after every five years and next year, Zimbabweans will go to the polls where President Mnangagwa, who is also First Secretary and President of the ruling Zanu-PF, will be seeking a fresh mandate to govern the country.

During the election period, there is an influx of foreign organisations seeking to observe the elections.


But Baroness Scotland said the Commonwealth will not be part of teams coming to Zimbabwe.

“I am not coming to observe the elections and last time I came it was part of the process for assessment (for readmission of Zimbabwe into the Commonwealth).

“We have to wait for an invitation to come and observe an election from a member State. And regrettably as we speak today, Zimbabwe is not a member State but I know that the elections are next year,” she said.
Baroness Scotland’s cordial meeting with President Mnangagwa comes after a Commonwealth Secretariat released its final remarks following its visit to Zimbabwe.

The delegation, led by the Assistant Secretary-General Professor Luis Franceschi, visited Zimbabwe from November 12 to 17, as part of the informal processes of assessment.

Harmonised elections

The delegation had meetings with President Mnangagwa, Government officials, opposition parties, heads of diplomatic missions and civil society organisations.
Following the Commonwealth’s visit, Prof Franceschi praised Zimbabwe for the positive progress made towards re-joining the bloc.

“Zimbabwe has made significant progress in its journey to re-join the Commonwealth family. This is encouraging and we hope that further progress will be made. This mission by the Commonwealth forms part of the broader membership process and we look forward to advancing this further.


“All the stakeholders we engaged with — the Government, opposition parties, civil society organisations, religious leaders, and indeed the people of Zimbabwe are supportive of Zimbabwe returning to the family. We will work together towards that shared vision to ensure this process reaches its proper conclusion,” Prof Franceschi.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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