THE Commonwealth assessment team, currently in Harare, has noted deep-seated polarisation in the country emanating from “mistrust” and implored the media to play a part in uniting the nation.
Addressing the media at the end of the visit, Commonwealth team leader assistant secretary-general Luis Franceschi said the mission concluded that everyone wanted Zimbabwe to be readmitted to the club.
“Zimbabwe is a beautiful country, you should all be proud of your country and keep moving,” Franceschi said.
“I call on the media here that the great responsibility that you have is to move together, to find each other and close that gap that divides you which is a gap of perhaps mistrust, which is not essential. It’s a gap of perhaps fallen friendships that can very easily come together. You have a beautiful country and we will be so proud to see you back in the Commonwealth and we look forward to it.”
The Commonwealth team was in the country for the third time following an application for readmission by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2018.
The team met government ministers, opposition parties, civil society organisations, journalists and the ruling Zanu PF party during its assessment.
Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party members raised concern over the deteriorating human rights situation when they met the Commonwealth mission.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, however, dismissed the claims as unfounded.
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“He (Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe) also clarified misconceptions and misinformation regarding the alleged abductions 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 citizens and visitors,” Ziyambi said.
“We are aware that you have met with several stakeholders including members of civil society organisations, other political parties, as well as faith-based organisations to hear alternative voices other than that of government. We believe that the inclusive process you have undertaken will enable you to finalise an objective report on the informal consultations and usher us to the next stage in the readmission process.”
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2003 over alleged human rights abuses before the late former President Robert Mugabe withdrew the country’s membership.
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