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House of Lords debates UK position on Zim bid to rejoin Commonwealth

The British’s House of Lords are expected to debate on the rightful position of the United Kingdom (UK) regarding Zimbabwe’s bid to re-join the Commonwealth.

Late former President Robert Mugabe angrily took Zimbabwe out back in 2003 during the peak of the violent land reform programme.

After grabbing power through a military coup in November 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in 2019, applied to re-join the voluntary association of 56 independent and equal countries, which largely comprises former British colonies.

Last year, a Commonwealth assessment team visited Harare and pointed out that Zimbabwe had made “very impressive” progress in meeting conditions for readmission.

Kate Hoey
Labour MP Kate Hoey of the “Grassroots Out” campaign, listens during a media interview an event in London, February 19, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
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The acknowledgement of the mission is was however dismissed by some in the House of Lords who include Lord Goldsmith, Baroness Kate Hoey and Lord Jonathan Oates who is behind Thursday’s debate.

The return of the southern African country will be decided by Commonwealth member states.

Reads a memo regarding the session to be held on Thursday; “On 12 January 2023, the House of Lords is due to debate the following question for short debate in grand committee; Lord Oates (Liberal Democrat) to ask His Majesty’s Government what plans they have to work with other Commonwealth nations to block Zimbabwe’s readmission into the Commonwealth until it is compliant with the principles of the Commonwealth’s 1991 Harare Declaration.”

For re-admission of Zimbabwe into the group, several aspects will be considered. Chief among them is the assessment of Mnangagwa’s to notice if it is respecting democratic institutions such as respecting the rule of law and human rights.

The debate also comes at a time when the Zanu-PF government is largely criticised for jailing opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MP Job Sikhala over ‘frivolous’ charges of inciting public violence.

Sikhala has spent more than seven months in custody without trial or bail.