Commonwealth visits Zimbabwe to assess readmission bid
A Commonwealth team led by Assistant Secretary General Prof Luis Franceschi has begun a series of meetings in Zimbabwe to assess its readiness to be readmitted into the 56-member group.
Foreign Affairs Minister Fredreick Shava said the country was determined to rejoin the group.
Zimbabwe quit the Commonwealth in 2003 in protest over a suspension a year earlier for violating the group’s code of conduct.
In this third and final mission to Zimbabwe, the delegation will assess the progress made in several areas, including judicial independence, electoral reforms, the protection of human rights including the freedom of association and media freedoms.
Harare believes it has complied with the conditions.
The team will meet with opposition and civil society groups some who say that their members are being targeted with arbitrary arrests.
Prof Francheschi said on Monday that Zimbabwe’s readmission was not a political issue and should not be treated as such.
In reality it would be a diplomatic coup for President Emmerson Mnangagwa who swept to power in 2017 promising to bring Zimbabwe back into the international fold, after decades of isolation under his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwe remains under US sanctions over alleged human rights abuses.