Zanu-PF’s Secretary for Administration, Patrick Chinamasa has said the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by western countries are playing a big role in delaying the Commonwealth engagement process.
He was speaking after meeting with the Commonwealth delegation led by Professor Luis Franschesci in Harare yesterday,.
Chinamasa stated that the countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe are slowing down the process as this would force them to lift the embargos.
“It’s (the readmission benchmark) made too high to a point where it’s not applied to any new members who want to get into the Commonwealth or to those who want to be readmitted like us. Our problem with re-admission should be coming from those countries which imposed sanctions against us and who are members of the club.
“They have to decide whether they want to lift the sanctions, if they agreed to have us re-admitted it would follow that they will lift sanctions. We think that is where the problem may be,” Chinamasa said.
Zimbabwe was placed under sanctions in the early 2000s after a rushed and controversial land reform program under the then leadership of President Robert Mugabe. The country was subsequently suspended from the bloc in 2002 before Mugabe pulled out in 2003.
However, with the coming in of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe has been making headways in applying for readmission into the bloc since 2018. however, the grouping has been giving Zimbabwe clear conditions to which it must adhere before being allowed back in.
Chinasama said ZANU PF fully supports the application for readmission as Mnangagwa has been vocal about his desire to be admitted back.
“We do so because as our President has said on many occasions, we want to be a friend to all and an enemy to none. That’s what motivates our application for readmission. We have been a valuable member of the club in the past from 1980-2003.
“We have observed and informed the delegation that our application for re-admission was made in May 2018, four years later we have not yet succeeded. Our observation is that the process is too slow, but also we observed that the bench-marking is skewed against Zimbabwe,” Chinamasa said.
The Commonwealth delegation is in the country for a week-long visit aimed at assessing progress made by Zimbabwe following an application submitted in 2018 for re-admission into the club
Meanwhile, Prof Franschesci told the media that his delegation is impressed by engagements so far with civil society, government, political parties, journalists and individuals.
“We have been engaging Government, media, civil society, opposition political parties and anybody who has anything to say about Zimbabwe. We are very pleased and impressed by the enthusiasm that everyone is showing for a bright future for this country,” he said.
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