On Monday, the Commonwealth announced that Zimbabwe has applied to rejoin the group after leaving the organisation 15 years ago.
Secretary-general of the group Patricia Scotland received a letter from Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa on May 9 which included the request. Scotland was pleased with the request. “I wholeheartedly echo the sentiments of Heads of Government who have said twice that they very much look forward to Zimbabwe’s return when the conditions are right,” she said.
“Zimbabwe’s eventual return to the Commonwealth, following a successful membership application, would be a momentous occasion, given our shared rich history.”
The decision comes after Mnangagwa replaced longtime ruler Robert Magabe in November 2017 after his resignation. According to a Commonwealth press release, Zimbabwe joined the organisation when it gained independence in 1980. In 2003, Mugabe pulled Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth, stating that it was an “evil organisation,” according to EWN.
In order to rejoin the organisation, the Commonwealth states that Zimbabwe, “must demonstrate that it complies with the fundamental values set out in the Commonwealth Charter, including democracy and rule of law plus protection of human rights such as freedom of expression.”
The group has also announced that it is invited to attend Zimbabwe’s upcoming elections, which will occur in July. Since becoming president, Mnangagwa has received both praise and criticism. During his presidency, Mnangagwa has ordered arrests of corrupt Zimbabweans, removed police roadblocks and created jobs. Criticism comes from the apparent slowness of progress being made in the economy.