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    Friday, 1 December 2017

    Mnangagwa triggers calls for return to Commonwealth


    The ascendancy of Emmerson Mnangagwa to the position of the President of Zimbabwe has reignited calls from the broad spectrum of citizens and political parties for the country to rejoin the Commonwealth family of nations from which it was suspended in 2002 because of election violence.
    MDC Alliance spokesperson Prof Welshman Ncube told The Mirror in a telephone interview that Zimbabwe must start to comply with international standards on elections as dictated by families of nations and re-join the Commonwealth.
    He said Zimbabwean citizens lost out immensely in the 15 years that the country was not a member in areas like sports, education, training, trade, deployment of experts and many programmes run by the Commonwealth to do with the improvement of the well-being of people in the member States.
    "There is no other reason that caused our departure from the Commonwealth except that Mugabe wanted to avoid scrutiny over his election conduct. He refused to hold to standards acceptable in the Commonwealth and that is the only reason why we left. We should address this matter and go back because there is a lot that we miss out on  by not being a member of any group or family of nations," said Welshman Ncube.
    Debate over the issue raged in many fora and in particular on social media where Zimbabweans blasted Mugabe for depriving citizens of many opportunities arising from the country's membership of Commonwealth. in order to protect his power.
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi refused to answer questions from The Mirror when he was contacted on his mobile number on Wednesday.
    MDC T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said his party supports immediate engagement with the Commonwealth.
    "As MDC T we have always said Zimbabwe belongs to a the community of nations, we don't live in isolation. The withdrawal from the Commonwealth by the previous administration is quite regrettable because we used to benefit from the Club in the form of scholarships and sports," said Gutu.
    The Commonwealth has 52 nations with a population of 2,4 billion and the majority of the nations are former colonies of Britain.
    The member nations benefit from training programmes, provision of experts, summits for the nation's leaders, good governance, peace programmes and programmes to improve the well-being of citizens.
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