Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU PF, has said sanctions imposed on the southern African country at the turn of the millennium could be a stumbling block to rejoining Commonwealth, according to the Chronicle.
Since the ascendancy to power of President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2017, Zimbabwe has been pushing the engagement and re-engagement agenda and rejoining the Commonwealth bloc has been on the cards since then.
Speaking after a closed-door meeting with the Commonwealth delegation led by Professor Luis Franschesci in Harare yesterday, ZANU PF’s acting secretary for administration, Patrick Chinamasa, said the discussions were fruitful. He said:
We are very pleased that we had a very fruitful engagement with the Commonwealth delegation this afternoon. We discussed a number of issues mostly centred on our application for readmission into the Commonwealth.
ZANU PF fully supports the application for readmission and we told them so. We do so because as our President has said on many occasions, we want to be a friend to all and an enemy to none. That’s what motivates our application for readmission. We have been a valuable member of the club in the past from 1980-2003.
We have observed and informed the delegation that our application for re-admission was made in May 2018, four years later we have not yet succeeded. Our observation is that the process is too slow, but also we observed that the bench-marking is skewed against Zimbabwe.
It’s made too high to a point where it’s not applied to any new members who want to get into the Commonwealth or to those who want to be readmitted like us.
Our problem with re-admission should be coming from those countries which imposed sanctions against us and who are members of the club.
They have to decide whether they want to lift the sanctions, if they agreed to have us re-admitted it would follow that they will lift sanctions. We think that is where the problem may be.
The Commonwealth delegation is in the country for a week-long visit aimed at assessing progress made by Zimbabwe following an application submitted in 2018 for re-admission into the club.
The Commonwealth secretary general, Mrs Patricia Scotland, was in South Africa early this month where she addressed the first ordinary session of the 6th Pan African Parliament and pledged to deploy a team in Harare to assess the situation on the ground.
She said several engagements had been made and the current stage with regard to Zimbabwe’s application to rejoin the club was to have an assessment team which will eventually report back before a position is taken.