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Zimbabwe begins process to re-join Commonwealth

By Joyce Namutebi

Added 21st May 2018 06:07 PM

Zimbabwe joined the Commonwealth on its independence in 1980 and withdrew from the organisation in 2003.

Zimbabwe begins process to re-join Commonwealth

President Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe joined the Commonwealth on its independence in 1980 and withdrew from the organisation in 2003.

Zimbabwe has applied to re-join the Commonwealth.

The proposal came in a letter dated May 15 to the Secretary-General Patricia Scotland from Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa, according to a press release issued by the organisation today.

Zimbabwe joined the Commonwealth on its independence in 1980 and withdrew from the organisation in 2003.

To re-join, Zimbabwe must demonstrate that it complies 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.

The membership process requires an informal assessment to be undertaken by representatives of the Secretary-General, followed by consultations with other Commonwealth countries.

The Secretary-General was delighted to receive the letter.  "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," she said.

Zimbabwe has also invited the Commonwealth to observe its forthcoming elections in July. The Secretariat is now mobilising a team of observers to do so  and their observations will form part of the Secretary-General's informal assessment.

"I urge the government, opposition parties, the election management body, civil society, and all stakeholders, to play their part in ensuring a credible, peaceful and inclusive process that restores citizens' confidence, trust and hope in the development and democratic trajectory of their country," Scotland said.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states.

The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries.

Thirty one of our members are small states, many of which are island nations.

Shared values and principles are inscribed in the Commonwealth Charter.

Member countries are supported by a network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organisations.  Ends-

 

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