Commonwealth Members Want GPA Implementation

The Commonwealth member countries said they continue “to look forward to the conditions being created for the return of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth”.

The member countries also added that they “continue to encourage the parties to implement the GPA faithfully and effectively”,  read part of the communique at the end of the grouping’s 21st Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Perth, Australia.

The Zimbabwean issue was not part of the meeting’s original agenda but was discussed after several African countries insisted that it be looked into.

The countries, particularly those drawn from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) grouping argued that the country’s suspension must be reviewed because of the changed political dynamics in the country brought about by the GPA.

Zimbabwe was suspended in 2003 following a largely disputed election the previous year where observers from Commonwealth and European Union (EU) were barred from the country.

The election which was like many previous elections in the country marred by violence was declared a sham. As part of the reasons for suspension, the grouping was also concerned about the escalation in human rights abuses.

Zimbabwe and Fiji, where a military junta is in charge, are the two countries currently serving suspensions while Sri Lanka, the host of the nest CHOGM is facing various human rights allegations it however denies.

Several countries, particularly western have threatened to boycott the next CHOGM if Sri Lanka does not act on the allegations.