HARARE – A Commonwealth assessment mission is expected in the country tomorrow for a week-long visit aimed at assessing progress made by Zimbabwe following an application submitted in 2018 for re-admission into the club.
The visit dovetails with President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement thrust anchored with the policy of a “friend to all and an enemy to none”.
In a statement last night, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Frederick Shava said the mission will be led by Assistant Secretary General, Professor Luis Franceschi and will be in the country from November 12 to 18, 2022.
“A Commonwealth assessment mission will be in Zimbabwe from November 12 to 18, 2022, at the invitation of Mnangagwa, to assess the progress that the country has made following the application it submitted in 2018 to rejoin the organisation.
“The mission, led by assistant secretary general Professor Luis Franceschi, will be visiting the country for the third time, in line with Zimbabwe’s re-engagement thrust that seeks to reset and rekindle its foreign relations in order to create a conducive and supportive environment for the successful implementation of NDS1 and the realisation of Vision 2030,” said Minister Shava.
“During the visit, the Mission will meet with His Excellency the President and hold discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador FM Shava, and other ministers and senior Government officials covering the political, legislative and economic reforms that the Government has under the Second Republic. It will also engage the media and other stakeholders on matters of interest to the organisation.”
Commonwealth secretary general, Mrs Patricia Scotland was in South Africa early this month where she addressed the first ordinary session of the 6th Pan African Parliament pledging to deploy a team in Harare to assess the situation on the ground.
She said several engagements had been made and the current stage with regards to Zimbabwe’s application to re-join the club was to have an assessment team which will eventually report back before a position is taken.
Mrs Scotland said she was “delighted that Zimbabwe is putting a great deal of energy and commitment to be re-admitted back into the Commonwealth”.
President Mnangagwa met Mrs Scotland in 2019 on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly where the Head of State and Government outlined several steps including reforms that had been undertaken by Zimbabwe.
In his address at the UN General Assembly, Mnangagwa said it was important to note that Zimbabwe had not been expelled from the Commonwealth, but had withdrawn and the issues that led to its pulling out, that of land reform, had since become water under the bridge.
The land reform programme was meant to address historical imbalances that saw rationalisation of land ownership from white minority owning large swaps of land to the black majority who hitherto had been on unfertile and unproductive soil. – Herald