Zimbabwe says consulting on rejoining Commonwealth

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Zimbabwe is making consultations on rejoining the Commonwealth, its foreign minister has said, as new President Emmerson Mnanagwa seeks to mend international ties.

Sibusiso Moyo also told parliament that there was nothing to stop Harare from rejoining the grouping of 53 nations, most of them former British colonies.

“In fact, the process which is there at the moment is that there are necessary processes and consultations which are taking place,” Moyo said, according to a transcript of his comments in parliament.

Former president Robert Mugabe pulled Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth in 2003 after he was criticized over disputed elections and violent seizures of white-owned farms.

Mnangagwa, who took over when Mugabe quit as president after nearly four decades in power following a de facto military coup in November, has said he wants Zimbabwe to rejoin.

He has also said he may ask Commonwealth, European Union and United Nations observers to oversee presidential and parliamentary elections this year, the conduct of which is seen as an important test for Zimbabwe’s future foreign relations.

Mnangagwa has said Zimbabwe still wants to end discrimination between black and white farmers but will seek new ways to compensate those who have lost their properties. Former colonial ruler Britain said last month that Harare should press on with transparent and fair land reform.