21 African Countries Support Zimbabwe's Return To Commonwealth After 2003 Exit4 months ago
All 21 African members of the Commonwealth support Zimbabwe’s return. Zimbabwe left the group in 2003 due to concerns over rights abuses.
President Mnangagwa sought re-admission in 2017, but the process has been slow over alleged human rights abuses in the southern African country.
The Commonwealth is finalising its report on Zimbabwe’s re-admission, and Baroness Scotland told Mnangagwa that continued repression in Harare was not helpful.
Addressing a post-Cabinet media briefing Tuesday, information minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said:
Baroness Scotland reported that the Secretariat was finalising the Report on Zimbabwe before submission to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Chairperson, His Excellency President Paul Kagame.
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She also said the UK is keen to continue strengthening relations with Zimbabwe. She said:
In line with the Second Republic’s re-engagement and engagement thrust (President Mnangagwa) met with the United Kingdom Minister of State for Development and Africa, the Right Honourable Andrew Mitchell.
The President noted the progress that has been made in strengthening bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom as evidenced by the increase in exchange visits, and renewed interest in promoting trade, investment and tourism opportunities across Zimbabwe’s major economic sectors.
The Right Honourable Mitchell highlighted his interest in mending Zimbabwe/UK relations and elevating these to a higher level.
Zimbabwe and the UK have had a complex relationship due to historical and political reasons. Relations deteriorated in the early 2000s due to disagreements over Zimbabwe’s land reform program and human rights abuses.
Since 2017, Zimbabwe has been pursuing a re-engagement policy with the West, including the UK, and both countries have expressed a desire to strengthen ties. However, concerns over human rights abuses and the pace of reforms remain.