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Zimbabwe 'poised' for Commonwealth return?

by Staff reporter
07 Dec 2022 at 05:06hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT yesterday announced that the Commonwealth mission that visited the country last month is expected to circulate its assessment report on Zimbabwe's readiness for readmission to the bloc next month.

The country applied to rejoin the Commonwealth in 2019 as part of President Mnangagwa's re-engagement drive after withdrawing membership in 2003.

A High-level Commonwealth assessment team visited the country last month from November 12 to 18 to assess the reforms being implemented by the country towards rejoining the Commonwealth.

In her post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said her Foreign Affairs and International Trade counterpart, Dr Frederick Shava briefed Cabinet on the Commonwealth's visit.

"Cabinet advises that the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth is likely to circulate the assessment mission report to Member States for consideration in January 2023. Subsequently, Commonwealth Member States will respond and determine the way forward," she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the mission assessed the country's legal, economic and political reforms as part of Zimbabwe's readiness to join the economic bloc.

"The High Level Mission was led by the Commonwealth Assistant Secretary General, Professor Luis Francesci, and its objective was to conduct an on-site evaluation of the progress made by Government in implementing legislative, political, electoral and economic reforms, and the country's readiness to re-join the Commonwealth," she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the Commonwealth mission met with President Mnangagwa and Cabinet ministers.
"The mission held a joint meeting with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Finance and Economic Development; Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; and Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services," she said.

"The Mission also met other stakeholders including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, faith-based organisations, Civil Society Organisations; the Academia, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Media Practitioners, and persons of interest to the Mission."

Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa said Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Nqobizitha Ndlovu briefed Cabinet on the Conference of parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife, Flora and Fauna (CITES), where most of Zimbabwe's proposals were rejected.

Zimbabwe through CITES cannot dispose of some of its ivory despite having one of the highest elephant populations in the world.

She said Minister Ndlovu recommended that going forward African countries should vote as a single unit on related matters as they were divided on many issues at the conference.

"Given the divisions that continue to widen among African regions at CITES, Cabinet agreed that the matter be taken up through engagements with fellow African nations and, where possible discussed at the AU Council of Ministers Meeting so that Africa comes up with a common position devoid of the influence of the former colonial masters and civil society organisations," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Source - The Chronicle