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C’wealth rejoining process underway

The Commonwealth is ready to welcome Zimbabwe back into the group once processes for rejoining, which are underway, are complete, the organisation’s secretary general, Baroness Patricia Scotland, has said.

She said this yesterday evening after a closed door meeting with President Mnangagwa on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference that is ongoing in Glasgow. In an interview after the engagement that lasted over half an hour, Baroness Scotland said: “Both the President and I have been talking about the issues which we both see have to be dealt with.

“We are hoping to welcome Zimbabwe once the processes that we talked about today have been completed.

“It’s not possible to say (when) now but the President has made it very clear that he wants to return to the Commonwealth and (is) committed to our values and principles.”

President Mnangagwa said he had a “fruitful discussion with the secretary general (Baroness Scotland)”.

Asked if the Commonwealth has set stringent rejoining conditions, President Mnangagwa said: “No, there’s a process which has to be followed. That process and procedures are being followed.

“There is no condition (set) yet. The process is ongoing.”

The engagement with Ms Scotland, follows the many engagements that President Mnangagwa has been having since arriving in Glasgow on Sunday night as part of deepening the engagement and reengagement drive.

On Monday, the President had a busy schedule, after meeting with a number of high profile officials that are crucial to the engagement and reengagement drive. Among the top officials he met was the 76th president of the United Nations General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid.

The meeting came a few days after UN Rapporteur, Professor Alena Douhan, concluded her tour of Zimbabwe where she was assessing the impact of sanctions. Prof Douhan said the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were illegal, adding that Zimbabwe shouldn’t worry about implementing reforms dictated to it by countries that imposed the sanctions.

President Mnangagwa also engaged, briefly during the official opening of the summit, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Other crucial engagements were done with European Council President Charles Michel and UK’s Minister of State for Africa, Vicky Ford.

After the meeting, Mr Michel tweeted: “Meeting President of Zimbabwe @edmnangagwa at the @COP26 in Glasgow.

“The EU stands ready to re-engage and support in implementing necessary reforms and tackling global challenges.”

The European Council is a collegiate body that defines the overall political directions and priorities of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Zimbabwe to the Benelux countries and Permanent Representative to the EU, Ambassador Ammon Mutembwa, told The Herald that the re-engagement drive was now in full swing, with timeframes having been set.

“During the engagements, no conditions were spelt out by anybody,” said Ambassador Mutembwa.

President Mnangagwa has made it a policy that Zimbabwe should establish good relations with all nations of the world guided by the mantra, “Friend to all and enemy to none”.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Fredrick Shava and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the UK, (Retired) Colonel Christian Katsande attended yesterday’s engagements. Zimbabwe pulled out of the Commonwealth in 2003 after citing unfair tendencies by some members in the bloc.

However, a lot has changed since then and President Mnangagwa’s administration wants to rejoin.

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