IN an interview with France24 in Ethiopia, President Emmerson Mnangagwa responded to British Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Harriet Baldwin’s statement that the UK Government will not support Zimbabwe’s application to rejoin the Commonwealth.
Baldwin appeared before the Committee to answer questions concerning the situation in Zimbabwe.
She said last week: “Zimbabwe has written a letter to the Commonwealth secretary as with many other countries, I would say that the UK is one of the members of the Commonwealth, clearly, it has to be a unanimous decision by 53 members but as of today the UK will not be able to support that application because we don’t believe that the kind of human rights violations that we have seen from security forces in Zimbabwe is the kind of behaviour that we would like to see from members of the Commonwealth.”
But President Mnangagwa is unfazed and has said Britain’s view is not the view of the Commonwealth.
“When we apply to join the Commonwealth we do not apply to Britain we apply to the Commonwealth Secretariat. Britain is just a member. The Commonwealth has not told us that they are not considering our application. The view of one member is not the view of the Commonwealth,” he said.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 states. United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II is Head of the Commonwealth.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa has met with his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa as well as other leaders from the continent and beyond at the ongoing AU summit in Ethiopia.
He said: “At the AU, I have been meeting with Presidents and Prime Ministers from across world, as well as business leaders and potential investors.
“The new Zimbabwe is moving forward, and as we continue to restructure reform and rebuild, we will face many more challenges. To overcome these challenges we must be an open Zimbabwe, working closely with the international community.”