Zimbabwean mathematician and best-selling author, Edzai Zvobwo is on a mission to use Zimbabwe’s application to be readmitted into the Commonwealth as a vehicle to push for sustainable development goals in the country.
Zimbabwe has applied to be readmitted into The Commonwealth. The application has been met with varying reactions. Some analysts believe that it is high time that the country comes out of international isolation and be rejoin the Commonwealth club, whilst some analysts believe that sound changes should be effected before it can be readmitted.
The country left the Commonwealth in 2003 at the height of political tensions with the West over the Fast-Track Land Reform Programme. It was flagged for gross human rights violations. The withdrawal of Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth divided as different nations had opposing positions with regards to Zimbabwe.
Edzai Zvobwo, a Tutu Fellow had the privilege of meeting with the Commonwealth Secretary General, Baroness Patricia Scotland at Marlborough House in London in September, as part of the fellowship. The young patriotic gentleman passionately pleaded with the Secretary General to readmit Zimbabwe into the Commonwealth because the ordinary people were the ones who were losing out on scholarships, human rights oversight and other technical assistance offered among members of the club.
Upon returning to Harare, Edzai immediately set up a website https://zim-commonwealth.org and started campaigning for people to sign his petition for Zimbabwe to be readmitted into the Commonwealth club. The site gained traction as Zimbabweans were very opinionated around the subject but the majority of sentiments were negative.
Trolls and other angry Zimbabweans attacked Edzai and his campaign, they even labelled him “Mnangagwa’s poodle” for taking a pro-Mnangagwa stance on the issue.
“It was such a nightmare, I was doing this for my people so that the country can move away from international isolation but I was vilified for this”, said Zvobwo in anguish.
Zvobwo did not cut the feedback loop and had to reconfigure the site to a consultative forum. He alluded to the fact that he under-estimated people’s anger and should not have taken a position on the matter based on his analysis that did not factor in all perspectives.
To redeem himself, Zvobwo is now on a mission to use the site https://zim-commonwealth.org and the application to join the Commonwealth to open dialogue about the changes needed in Zimbabwe to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
He is eliciting people’s opinions with questions like: Do you think that Zimbabwe has turned the corner? Should it be readmitted into the Commonwealth? Should Zimbabwe be admitted so that they are accountable to the club? Or should sound changes should be effected before it can be readmitted? What do you think?
To engage in this dialogue you can anonymously say your mind on https://zim-commonwealth.org/say-your-mind
Should Zimbabwe rejoin Commonwealth?