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Mnangagwa begs Britain for Commonwealth return

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By Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has pleaded with United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson to support his government’s bid to return to the Commonwealth.

In a congratulatory letter sent to Johnson following his election victory Friday, Mnangagwa said his government was implementing reforms which have been placed as a precondition for readmission into the elite club of nations.

“The Government and the people of Zimbabwe take this opportunity to express the confidence that your renewed mandate will also enable you to continue to support our re-engagement efforts with both your country and others.

“I was pleased to receive your Special Envoy on 6 November 2019 and earnestly hope that we have more of this supportive interaction in the very near future.

“Zimbabwe continues to implement political, economic, legislative and electoral reforms designed to open up political space, improve the ease of doing business and facilitate the return of Zimbabwe to the family of the progressive Global Community.

“It is our fervent hope therefore that these reforms will also enable your new Government to support Zimbabwe’s return to the Commonwealth Organisation,” Mnangagwa wrote.

However, the Zanu PF led government’s half-hearted commitment to reform implementation has failed to impress the Western world with British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Melanie Robinson early last week saying Zimbabwe was still far from re-joining the Commonwealth.

Robinson said Zimbabwe has not yet completed political and economic reforms.

She was addressing local media after paying a courtesy call on Vice President Constantino Chiwenga at Munhumutapa Building in Harare.

“We discussed the Commonwealth and from the beginning, the British have been very clear we would like to see the Zimbabwe back in the Commonwealth and at the point where economic and political reform programme has been completed and we have seen good progress on that then that will be the time to look at membership,” she said.

“We are currently somewhere away from that, but we look forward into the future to seeing these reforms underway and for us to be able to discuss the membership.”

Then President Robert Mugabe pulled Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth 2003 after a meeting of the organisation’s heads of government extended the country’s suspension from its ranks.

The 53-member grouping of former British colonies had suspended Zimbabwe in 2002 following a presidential election marred by massive state sponsored violence.

Mnangagwa’s administration has come under fire for failure to break from the previous government’s ruinous policies blamed for continued economic slide and using iron-fisted policies to enforce compliance among disgruntled citizens.

The country battles run-away inflation propelled by surging prices of goods and services as well as chronic cash and fuel shortages.

Government has also been blamed for visiting brutalities on citizens protesting economic hardship in what has elicited state killings on protesters.

Human rights defenders continue to be victimised through arrests and abductions while government has also responded to a strike by doctors through sacking them.

Observers feel this is unlike a state that is keen on breaking from its brutal past under Mugabe.