Zimbabwe continued to lobby for resumption at the ongoing Commonwealth Summit in Rwanda, 18 years after being disfellowshipped for alleged human rights abuses.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government submitted a proposal on 15 May , 2018 to rejoin the grouping of 54 countries, a year after strongman Robert Mugabe was overthrown in a military coup.
The late Mugabe, who supported Zimbabwe between 1980 and 2017 ruled with an iron fist, was at odds with the Commonwealth over alleged human rights abuses and electoral fraud.
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Rwanda Charity Manyeruke attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government (Chogm) meeting in Kigali as an observer, along with other top government officials told local media that the South African country’s participation in the summit was a “positive development”.
“Zimbabwe is delighted with the Participating in Commonwealth forums as this provides opportunities for networking with the internal community whilst considering the Zimbabwe Government’s policy of engagement and reintegration,” said Ms Manyeruke.
“The Commonwealth meeting in Kigali has Created opportunities for our Zimbabwean diaspora around the world to participate as panellists, moderators and as delegates on the forums.
“I have engaged with the Zimbabwean diaspora, the media, the private sector, academia, the Civil society, finance and banking, the arts and students: “They had an opportunity to engage.”
Three Zimbabwean ministers have attended side events at the Summit such as the Commonwealth Women Forum and the Commonwealth Business Forum.
The Zimbabwean Mission in Rwanda is also holding an exhibition to showcase products from the South African country.
Harare has praise
David Musabayana, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Foreign Minister, said he had held meetings with influential people to discuss the country’s possible readmission to discuss.
“We are honored to be invited as observers,” said Mr Musabayana.
“There is a great deal of interest in Zimbabwe from Commonwealth member countries who are interested in it interested in doing business and investing in Zimbabwe,” he added.
After the coup, countries like the UK appeared willing to support Zimbabwe’s return to the Commonwealth, but the stance has done so since changed due to President Mnangagwa’s reluctance to implement promised electoral reforms.