Zim to stay out of C’wealth

Minister Mumbengegwi

Minister Mumbengegwi

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Government has no plans to rejoin the Commonwealth and anyone lobbying for Harare to be allowed back to the bloc will be working against Zimbabwe’s position, a Cabinet minister has said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe was unjustifiably suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 after the bloc of former British colonies premised its decision on what they regarded as “preponderance of opinion”.

He said this while giving oral evidence on Monday before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Makonde MP Cde Kindness Paradza (Zanu-PF) regarding Zimbabwe’s foreign policy.

“Since then, there has never been a review of Commonwealth membership by the Government of Zimbabwe. In fact, it is difficult to see any such review taking place in the foreseeable future. Therefore, any parliamentarians who lobby foreign parliamentarians for Zimbabwe to be allowed to join the Commonwealth must know that their efforts are at variance with the Government of Zimbabwe. The Commonwealth is, after all, first and foremost an association of governments,” he said.

Giving some background, Minister Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe was initially suspended for one year following a report by the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission after they asserted that while Presidential elections had been held professionally they had received complaints from the opposition of violence which allegedly occurred before they arrived in the country.

As a result, he said, a troika of the Commonwealth comprising former South African president Thabo Mbeki, his then Nigerian counterpart President Olusegun Obasanjo and the then Australian prime minister John Howard announced the suspension after a whole day of deliberations.

Minister Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe was subsequently suspended by President Obasanjo on what he called “preponderance of opinion” in spite of fierce opposition by Sadc and Uganda that the decision undermined the Commonwealth tradition of decision- making by consensus.

“For Zimbabwe to come back, these were the conditions, (that) secretary-general (Donald) McKinnon and chairman Obasanjo must unanimously recommend to a committee of seven foreign ministers, which had been set up, who in turn must unanimously recommend to all members of the Commonwealth who must unanimously agree to lift the suspension of Zimbabwe,” said Minister Mumbengegwi.

He said this coincided with Zanu-PF national people’s conference in Masvingo that subsequently voted to pull out from the Commonwealth.

On re-engagement with the European Union, Minister Mumbengegwi said the Western bloc had failed to substantiate its allegations of absence of democracy and rule of law.

Of late, he said, the United States and the EU had sought to justify their sanctions on the alleged disappearance of journalist and opposition political activist Itai Dzamara.

“I have said to them, look, before the Dzamara issue, why did you impose sanctions in the first place? I asked them to bring evidence of alleged abuse, specific evidence but they have failed,” he said.

Legislators also expressed concern on the state of infrastructure of Zimbabwean embassies which they said was embarrass- ing.

Minister Mumbengegwi said it was a reflection of the harsh economic environment in the country.

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  • Brigadier Siyasutha Belamba

    It is as if the Commonwealth needs us more than we need them. Simbarashe is trying to sound like the North Koreans but in reality he knows he is talking nonsense. With countries like Mozambique and Rwanda joining the Commonwealth it is clear that we are alone in this ‘fight”. My embarrassment stems from the fact that this same minister will be queuing for hand-outs from the very British that he is insulting. We know staying out of commonwealth , doing things that attract sanctions from other nations is the in-thing in the ruling party. It provides cover for politicians to loot:that is why we have millionaires in cabinet when there is poverty elsewhere.

    • Collin Mackenzie

      Oh please sympathetic Brigadier who really needs this fools.

      Today is the very same Mozambique at peace?
      Let us sometimes see the good within ourselves and not just be critical of everything Zanu PF and the government is doing, just because you can.
      The very same Bheki is opening his stupid month only today why ? Why did he not do it or say the things he knows then Why ? Why Why ? when he indeed have all the power as head of state why now ? And why today ? what difference is it going to make when the image of Zimbabwe has been recked and the colonial master still stands tall.
      That cigar smoking man must go and stand on top of 10 Downing Street and tell the world and only the will I take him to heart.
      Poor poor Zimbabwe and our President being made an escape goat by the West.
      Let’s be real here ! an stop bragging to know it all ..Shut up

      • Brigadier Siyasutha Belamba

        Mozambique is not at peace I agree but there are now the second biggest economy in SADC and that is a fact and we are now the worst

  • Cecil Roars

    You just wonder a handful of men and women are bent on making everyone’s life difficult while they live like royal on our taxes.
    This is an example of self imposed punishmen; self isolation. Because they know they have foul smell and they decided to move away on their own.

  • MweniTafara

    Lets create a stronger African Union in terms of economic and political union, Common Wealth will die a natural death. Which slave needs to be united with its master? Show me that slave so I can redeem it.

  • Realest Negus Living

    Matthew 7:3

  • Kuta Kinte

    I agree that the commonwealth issue is a slave – master relationship. The relationship between the Commonwealth and Zimbabwe is that of a master and a disobedient slave. If you are a disobedient slave, you may be punished through being sanctioned on food, on all luxuries, necessities and benefits which the obedient slaves will be provided. The commonwealth is also a platform where the British Prime minister can announce that any commonwealth African member states which resist same sex marriages, will be dealt with by reducing or eliminating the aid given to them and I think most commentators who participate on this platform, might have read this which was in the press a few years ago.

    • jacktheswede

      Reality is that there is always going to be a master and slave…even in our homes, we have maids and gardeners who essentially are paid slaves but then with the Commonwealth there are some benefits in that Britain has created a platform for closer interaction between itself and its former colonies in the economic, political and even cultural spheres which has been very beneficial to this country as at one time Britain was one of our biggest trading partners, and we also enjoyed a visa free regime. Now if you insist that we were treated like slaves in the commonwealth, what then is the nature of our relationship with China

      • African Cristiano

        Good response cde

  • jacktheswede

    I am sure the Commonwealth has been unable to function without Zimbabwe’s portion of “wealth” since 2002. You would the rest of the world owes us a favour.