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Is there a benefit of being in the Commonwealth

27 Sep 2019 at 22:17hrs | Views
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of independent and equal sovereign states.

Its member governments have agreed to pursue shared goals such as development, democracy and peace. These values and principles are expressed in the Commonwealth Charter.

The Commonwealth spans the globe, including both advanced economies and developing countries, in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, Europe and the Pacific.

Thirty-one members are small states, with a population under two million, and 25 are island nations.
The Commonwealth celebrates diversity and is made up of many faiths, races, languages, cultures and traditions. Most countries have similar legal and governance systems and, in English, a shared language.

A network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organisations help member countries to put Commonwealth values and principles into action.

Commonwealth member countries are supposed to benefit from being part of a mutually supportive community of independent and sovereign states, aided by more than 80 Commonwealth organisations.

The Commonwealth Secretariat, established in 1965, is supposed to support Commonwealth member countries to achieve development, democracy and peace.on paper the Commonwealth strengthens governance, build inclusive institutions and promote justice and human rights. Its work is supposed to help to grow economies and boost trade, empower young people, and address threats such as climate change, debt and inequality.in normal situations it provides training and technical assistance and support decision-makers to draw up legislation and deliver policies.

PERHAPS the most remarkable thing about the Commonwealth is that it exists at all. Setting aside the anti-colonial resentment that hastened the demise of the British empire throughout the 20th century, almost all its former subjects have since co-existed in a club that has the queen as its head. The Commonwealth has 53 members and encompasses almost a third of the world's population; among former British colonies, only Burma and Aden chose not to join.

Most who know slightly better would probably cite the quadrennial Commonwealth games as proof of the club's existence.
Otherwise, the club runs a good scholarship programme, development projects for its poorest members and a tangled and ineffective bureaucracy, including at least 70 different organisations, which appears to exist chiefly to provide junkets for a well-heeled Commonwealth elite.

Even more lamentable is the club's record on enforcing its members' commitment to human rights and the rule of law. As far as commonwealth is concerned Human Rights is only measured as per your boot licking skills.  If you do not tow the line of the elite whatever you do translates to Rule of law.  In the eyes of the Commonwealth some humans have rights which are more than others. Commonwealth exercise its justice relatively.
 
It is not good. Nigeria was partially suspended after it hanged Ken Saro-Wira, a human-rights activist, in 1995. But the Commonwealth showed little interest in the abuse of the Ogoni peopleâ€"doomed on an oil-rich deltaâ€"that had motivated his campaign. Nor, despite similarly suspending Pakistan in 1999, after its coup, has it showed much interest in that country's habitual abuses against religious minorities and otherwise. As one of the more unsavoury legacies of British rule, 41 of the club's members retain colonial-era laws against gay sex. Yet the club also shares a more beneficial British legacy. Its members are bonded by a common language, a common legal code and aspects of shared culture and indeed one single head the Queen of England. These advantages have helped them prosper African members of the club are supposed to be conspicuously better off than their non-Commonwealth neighbours. That was one reason Rwanda, which was colonised by Germany and Belgium, not Britain, nonetheless joined the club.

Some argue that a more focused and agile Commonwealth could do more to reinforce those advantagesâ€"right-wing Eurosceptics in Britain's Conservative Party even dream of the club as an alternative free-trade zone to the European Union. It never could be; but gearing the club towards trade as well as values looks like a good idea. In time, the two could become mutually reinforcing. The problem is that this would take better leadership than the Commonwealth has so far enjoyed. Insidious postcolonial politics mean Britain and other rich members, including Canada and Australia, cannot provide this. Only developing countries, chiefly India, South Africa and Nigeria can do so. And they, on current form, are not interested in taking on such a role in a club that they appear to find endearing, somewhat useful, but faintly embarrassing.

The Queen cannot be felt as the head in the EU. She has to concentrate in the commonwealth to exert her powers. The queen's powers in the commonwealth simply means the powers of the United Kingdom.

The members from poorer Commonwealth countries are  treated in less privileged conditions. They are all treated as third citizens as far as migration is concerned.

A British citizen visiting any commonwealth country only applies for a visa at the entry point while an African will have to apply in his own country and many are denied the visa.

There are no advantages to the members but yes there is a great advantage to the old master.
Becoming a member of the commonwealth is of no benefit to the poor. They just stampede to be under the dear old master. Africans have not failed to embarrass themselves by begging to be put under the reigns of the old master. There is no advantage whatsoever in being the members but it simply shows that we cannot divorce ourselves from the masters.

The former president the late Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe pulled Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth in protest soon after he was toppled in a coup which was not a coup ED has begged to be taken back in the club.

From self imposed bondage to self imposed bondage the shame of wanting to be in the chains of colonialism.
The United Kingdom is seeking to leave the EU at any cost and want to consolidate its grip on the commonwealth of the common-poor.
Africa will take long to realise that the Commonwealth is yet another stage for power only for the former colonisers.
There is no economical benefit for Zimbabwe. It is only further humiliating and embarrassing ourselves. Talk of the Stockholm syndrome the victims take pride in being victims.

If UK finds it necessary to exit EU it speaks volumes of those clambering to remain in bondage.

Vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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