Zimbabwe: Govt Applies to Rejoin the British Commonwealth

Left: Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Top-right: Flag of Zimbabwe. Bottom-right: Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Zimbabwe has applied to re-join the British Commonwealth and invited observers to attend its general elections. The move is a major step towards re-engaging with the international community after Robert Mugabe's ouster.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa officially applied for his country to re-join the Commonwealth almost 15 years after it left, the group said on Monday.

Announcing the application in a statement posted on Twitter, the Commonwealth said Mnangagwa made the application in a letter sent on May 15.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said in a statement that the member states "very much look forward to Zimbabwe's return when the conditions are right."

"Zimbabwe's eventual return to the Commonwealth, following a successful membership application, would be a momentous occasion, given our shared rich history," Scotland said.

Under former leader Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe left the voluntary grouping of mostly former British colonies in 2003.

Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980, had been suspended by the group for violent and disputed elections as well as seizing land from white farmers which triggered a national economic collapse.

Mnangagwa replaced Mugabe as leader following a de facto army coup last November.

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