Zimbabwe says Commonwealth readmisison ‘not priority right now’

HARARE – Re-joining the Commonwealth is not Zimbabwe’s priority right now, a spokesman for President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.

Zimbabwe had been expected to apply for readmission into the club of former British colonies at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) currently underway in Rwanda. The meeting ends on June 26.

Not many expected Zimbabwe’s readmission, nearly 20 years after the country pulled out after the Commonwealth refused to lift its suspension imposed over human rights abuses.

Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba has confirmed Zimbabwe has not asked for readmission, itself an acceptance by the regime in Harare that such a request has little chance of succeeding over enduring concerns about growing repression in the country.

“Commonwealth euphoria is not Zimbabwean. Zimbabwe has not expressed any new wish to re-join the Commonwealth it left over its sovereign land reform programme,” Charamba wrote on Twitter.

Charamba claimed that some countries, including the United Kingdom, “have wished for Zimbabwe’s return.”

“Not quite our priority at this stage,” he maintained.

Mnangagwa’s government previously expressed an interest in re-joining the Commonwealth after the military ousted Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup.

Mugabe pulled Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth in 2003 after he was criticised over disputed elections and violent seizures of white-owned farms.

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