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Tuesday, 25 February, 2003, 12:41 GMT
Should Zimbabwe be readmitted to the Commonwealth?
The President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that Zimbabwe should be readmitted as a full member of the Commonwealth.

He told the BBC that human rights abuses connected with land reform had largely ended and the country now needed help to resolve its problems.

Both President Obasanjo and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki have said the country's one-year suspension should not be extended when it ends in March.

However, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and Australian Prime Minister John Howard have called for full expulsion because of human rights violations.

Should Zimbabwe be readmitted to the Commonwealth?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

Zimbabweans have suffered terribly at the hands of their evil ruler. Banning them from the privileges of the Commonwealth is a further punishment they don't deserve. It is Mugabe who should be banned: from Zimbabwe.
Mike Barratt, UK

If morality is such an issue to the Commonwealth, then they should immediately readmit Zimbabwe and try to help her

Tafadzwa, Zimbabwe
Re-admittance is surely the only alternative to the Zimbabwean crisis. By expelling Zimbabwe the Commonwealth is trying to get riddance of Zimbabwe and run away from a pending problem. If a family member misbehaves, or goes against the family's principle, the solution is definitely not to disown them and run away. Mugabe is not Zimbabwe and if he rigged the elections then it is Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe that he cheated, thus any punitive measures should never be misdirected. If morality is such an issue to the Commonwealth, then they should immediately readmit Zimbabwe and try to help her and her people out of the predicament they find themselves in.
Tafadzwa, Zimbabwe

Kweku Owusu, Ghana

There seems to be a worrying racial dimension to this Some African seem to think its OK to support a ruthless dictatorial regime as long as its leadership is black, while they expected the support of the rest of the Commonwealth against the white-led former regime in South Africa. This is wrong, and brings these countries into disrepute.
Laurence, UK

What Mr. Mugabe is doing is right.

Mohamed Ashraf, Saudi Arabia
Zimbabwe should be readmitted to the Commonwealth even if Mr. Mugabe stays in power. This is another example that the west is punishing a President or a Government who is caring for their people. What Mr. Mugabe is doing is right. The white farmers holding 80% of Zimbabwe's land and poor black are suffering. This is injustice. The west should learn from this.
Mohamed Ashraf, Saudi Arabia

I cannot believe that Mbeki would support a repressive government after all the people in Zimbabwe went through during the apartheid era supporting freedom in South Africa. If it is really about African Brotherhood, supporting your brother's 13 million children facing starvation should be more important than supporting a renegade brother at their peril.
Ndaba, USA/ Zimbabwe

Should Zimbabwe be readmitted to the Commonwealth? Of course the answer is yes. Why do I say so? It is simply because all this about human rights abuses is total nonsense if it is just applied to the ZANU-PF regime alone. If the Commonwealth, an organisation which has lost its credibility, is to have any meaning, it should act a little more consistently by suspending countries like Uganda, which is heavily involved in human rights abuses in DR Congo. The Commonwealth should then expel Britain for its threat to abuse the human rights of the people of Iraq. Australia too, should be suspended for continued oppression of the people of Aboriginal extraction. It is then, and only then that the Commonwealth can consider suspending Zimbabwe.
Chishimba Milongo, Zambia

They must strongly consider the facts

Kirsty, Zimbabwe
Nothing has improved in Zimbabwe. You only have to drive a few miles from the airport to see the queues for fuel, bread, sugar, mealie meal, cooking oil - you name it. Isn't being denied basic foodstuffs a violation of human rights? Isn't being beaten up and forced to hold a Zanu-PF card, just to obtain these foods a human rights violation? And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Before Obasanjo and Mbeki stand up for that poor excuse of an African leader, they must strongly consider the facts. Democracy in our country is dead and the solution is simple - either suspend him again and use harsher tactics on him, or just get him out so that we can return to normality. Three years of this is getting beyond a joke.
Kirsty, Zimbabwe

The so-called sanctions have only worsened the plight of the always vulnerable group of people - the ordinary Zimbabwean nationals. For how long should we continue to suffer because of such failed political ideologies like imposing sanctions on President Mugabe and his top officials?
Patrick, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe should be readmitted to the Commonwealth to save the body from splitting. If the white farmers had cooperated with the government in giving up the farms that the government had earmarked for resettlement and Britain had honoured its obligation, we would not be having this Commonwealth split.
Langeci Ncube

Why does he now support a man who has brought his country to its knees?

Richard, Sweden
It is odd that Mbeki forgets so quickly how the world fought against apartheid and racism in South Africa. Sanctions and treating the white South African government as a pariah had its just rewards. Why does he now support a man who has brought his country to its knees and committed acts of barbarism against black and white Zimbabweans?
Richard, Sweden

It's about time for all African leaders to start acting more maturely and responsibly. While I believe that Zimbabwe should be re-admitted to the Commonwealth for the sake of the Zimbabwean people, I do not believe in the spirit of the Zimbabwean regime. Time is on the side of Mr Mugabe and all other African leaders to start acting in the spirit of the masses who put them to power. Better yet, I think the guy should resign because he is not any good for his people.
Abdul, New York

The Presidents of South Africa and Nigeria are the leading figures behind the so called Nepad initiative which is supposed to improve Africa's lot by promoting better government. But they are supporting Mugabe by advocating Zimbabwe's return to the Commonwealth. Can they really think he runs a good government?
Andrew Cover, UK

Wake up Mbeki - this is your front door!

Karl, Australia
Having lived through it all, I fully agree with the suspension. The only reasons that there are "no more abuses" are that there are no journalists to cover the abuses, and most people have been abused already! Wake up Mbeki - this is your front door!
Karl, Australia

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth due to a stolen election and human rights abuses. Let's not divert from the main issue which is about a stolen election and human rights abuses.
Edwin Dube, New Zealand

If Mugabe were to stop his land redistribution policy today and turn directly against his own people, as he always does, the West will once again turn a blind eye and Zimbabwe will be readmitted to the Commonwealth without delay. What needs to be disbanded is the Commonwealth of nations, it is the last relic of a sad past, a reminder of inequality amongst states and a real distraction from Africa's real problems.
Sowore Omoyele, Nigeria

Has the situation in Zimbabwe changed for the better of the people of Zimbabwe in the past 12 months? If not then there should be no question of the re-admittance of Zimbabwe. It should not happen.
Nigel, Scotland

We have to trust Nigeria and South Africa's belief that Zimbabwe can be coaxed towards reform

Adrian Bowden, UK
It's hard to argue against Robert Mugabe's record on human rights when Tony Blair is trying to bomb Arabs for oil. All this moralising gets us nowhere, and we have to trust Nigeria and South Africa's belief that Zimbabwe can be coaxed towards reform but cannot be forced.
Adrian Bowden, UK

Zimbabwe ought to be readmitted to the commonwealth because the current economic restrictions have caused significant harm to those who are being oppressed by the Mugabe government, while the leaders of that government have not experienced the worst of the effects of the suspension. Furthermore, economic cooperation with temporally unstable governments has shown to redirect nations toward order through the policy of democratic enlargement of the Clinton-era of US foreign policy. Increased trade with civilised nations will eventually pressure Zimbabwe to reform.
Tucker, USA

The problem of oppression by an illegal government still remains the number one problem. They have consolidated their power, crushed their opposition and bide their time for the next move. His friends seem to think that silence represents a return to normality. Normality will take immense effort in a stable law abiding society where there is no discrimination. Normality is not where there is government sponsored violence, food deprivation and a lack of concern for human rights.
Tim, Botswana

I think Zimbabwe should be readmitted to the Commonwealth for as long they get rid of the present leader Mr Mugabe.
Tiffa, UK


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 VOTE RESULTS
Should Zimbabwe be readmitted to the Commonwealth?

Yes
 20.68% 

No
 79.32% 

20309 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

17 Feb 03 | Africa
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