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Commonwealth receives conflicting info about situation in Zimbabwe

In its bid to assess the stability of Zimbabwe to be readmitted into the Commonwealth, the club received conflicting information about the real situation in the Southern African country.

The Commonwealth Mission, led by assistant secretary-general Luis Franceschi, is in the country following an application for readmission by the Zanu-PF government in 2018.

The team this week met with several ministers who told them that the government had instituted considerable reforms. Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told the Mission that “Zimbabwe was the safest place to live”.

He also dismissed reports that the regime has been cracking down on its critics through among other things, abduction of dissenting voices.

“As you will recall, the Minister of Home Affairs addressed the concerns raised regarding perceived human rights violations by the enforcers of the law.

“He also clarified misconceptions and misinformation regarding the alleged abduction of citizens, most of which are stage managed to coincide with major international events.

“Zimbabwe has absolutely no reason to abduct its own citizens. It is in fact one of the safest and most peaceful places in the world for its citizens and visitors,” Ziyambi said.

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But opposition leader Nelson Chamisa told the team that there was no rule of law in the country, with selective application of the law in favour of the ruling Zanu-PF party and its members.

“On the political climate and the breakdown of the rule of law, we emphasised that Zimbabwe suffered from a crisis of governance. We emphasised what is obtained in the country in terms of breakdown and state of the rule of law,” Chamisa said.

“It is a crisis borne out of disputed elections, legitimacy and we have noted that Zimbabwe is buffeted by a set of circumstances that have germinated acrimony, division, disputed national process and outcome, disputed leaderships, toxicity and lack of legitimacy.

“This has been essentially the problem in Zimbabwe.”

The Commonwealth team has already met civil society organisations, journalists, the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 over alleged human rights abuses before the late former President Robert Mugabe withdrew the country’s club membership.

Zanu-PF acting secretary for administration Patrick Chinamasa on Tuesday accused nations that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe of delaying the re-admission of the country into the club.

These are, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.