Zimbabwe will continue pursuing efforts to be readmitted into the Commonwealth in line with the Second Republic’s engagement and re-engagement policy, coupled with the desire to be a friend of all and enemy of none.
In its efforts to be readmitted, Harare will ride on the good bilateral relations with Rwanda, which has since assumed the chairmanship of the Commonwealth.
This was said by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, during yesterday’s post-Cabinet briefing.
She said Cabinet had been briefed by Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Professor Amon Murwira, on the official visit to Zimbabwe a fortnight ago by the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Vincent Biruta.
“Rwanda has committed to assist Zimbabwe in its bid to be readmitted to the Commonwealth taking advantage of Rwanda’s chairmanship of the organisation in the next two years,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Responding to inquiries from journalists, Prof Murwira said while the Government was pursuing its policy of engagement and re-engagement and seeking to be a friend to all and enemy to none, the Land Reform Programme remained non-negotiable.
“Zimbabwe has a policy of engagement and re-engagement and Commonwealth is one of those areas where we seek to engage and re-engage. Our main foreign policy thrust is that Zimbabwe is a friend of all and enemy of none and this is very important,” said Prof Murwira.
“On readmission to the Commonwealth, you will find out that Zimbabwe got out of the Commonwealth by the time we had started our Land Reform Programme, which became a source of dispute between ourselves and our erstwhile colonisers.
This Land Reform Programme is irreversible and any condition of readmission in any body cannot start this debate, it is a closed chapter when it comes to reuniting the people with their land.”
Prof Murwira said there could be some countries that were unhappy with the decision by Zimbabwe to redistribute land from the white minority to black majority, but the process will not be reversed “in any way”.
“So any condition for readmission has to agree to this fact, which is a historic fact which is irreversible. So this might be one of the conditions which we are facing when we are going back. We have a solid policy of engagement.”
In 2019, President Mnangagwa held a meeting with Commonwealth secretary general, Mrs Patricia Scotland on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York.
He briefed her of the several reforms the Second Republic was undertaking in order for it to be readmitted into the Club.
In an interview soon after meeting President Mnangagwa, Mrs Scotland said the Commonwealth had noted reforms that Zimbabwe had embarked upon under the new dispensation.
She said her discussions with President Mnangagwa brainstormed on how Zimbabwe’s return to the Commonwealth could be expedited.
President Mnangagwa also engaged Mrs Scotland on the sidelines of the COP26 held in Glasgow, Scotland, last year.