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PROMISE KEPT: Zimbabwe officially applies to rejoin Commonwealth after 15 years
Zimbabwe has officially applied to rejoin the Commonwealth of Nations after 15 years of non-membership, as President Emmerson Mnangagwa also invites the organisation’s member-states to send observers to its general elections in July.
This disclosure was made by the Commonwealth Secretariat, which said the letter of proposal came from President Mnangagwa and was addressed to Secretary-General Patricia Scotland on Tuesday.
Natricia Duncan, Communications Officer at Commonwealth Secretariat, said on Monday that the Secretary-General was delighted to receive the letter.
Ms Scotland said: “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.”
Zimbabwe had originally joined the Commonwealth upon its political independence in 1980, but withdrew under the presidency of Robert Mugabe in December, 2003, following continued suspension from the organisation.
Mnangagwa has, however, moved to undo the action of his predecessor, who resigned in November. He had said in January that the country will seek to rejoin the Commonwealth and his government will prioritise rebuilding relations with the United Kingdom.
The Gambia, in February, also rejoined the Commonwealth nearly five years after leaving the organisation.
“When The Gambia left in 2013, the heads of government expressed their regret in its leaving the Commonwealth family,” Secretary-General Scotland said at the ceremony in London.
“We’ve looked forward to The Gambia’s return and were delighted when, after his election victory in December 2016, President Barrow pledged to return. The Gambia’s application to rejoin has been unanimously accepted by all 52 member states, who welcome back their brothers and sisters to again play their full part in the Commonwealth family.”