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Govt Wants Zimbabwe Suspended From Commonwealth

New Zealand To Press For Suspension Of Zimbabwe From Commonwealth

The Commonwealth must move to suspend Zimbabwe from its membership says New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff.

Mr Goff says that the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Brisbane at the beginning of March must act decisively to demonstrate the utter unacceptability of the increasingly dictatorial and abusive regime of Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

“The recent legislation passed by the Mugabe regime further restricting democratic rights and freedom of the press in Zimbabwe clearly signals that it does not intend that the Presidential elections of 9-10 March will be either fair or free.

“The failure to invite the international community and Commonwealth to send election observers and the passage of law banning local independent election monitors is an additional sign that democracy no longer exists in Zimbabwe.

“International observers needed to be on the ground now to deter and report on intimidation of voters and candidates for the electoral exercise to be a meaningful one.

“Mugabe’s claims that occupation of farms by so-called war veterans is about fair redistribution of resources and that international opposition is ‘colonialist’ are simply propaganda.

“Amnesty International which recently visited Zimbabwe concluded that what was happening in Zimbabwe ‘is not about land reform but about rampant torture by the state and its proxies to bludgeon dissent.’”

“The case against the Mugabe regime and against allowing Zimbabwe to remain in the Commonwealth is overwhelming.

“There is documented evidence of harassment, arbitrary arrests, assaults, torture and killing of those who oppose the regime.

“Legislation, threats and intimidation have silenced and controlled the judiciary and the media. It is now a crime under the Public Order and Security Act to criticise the President and the Electoral Amendment Bill, when passed, will put significant obstacles in the way of those registering to vote.
“Having through corruption and mismanagement destroyed the economy of Zimbabwe, President Mugabe now will not risk a free election which almost certainly would remove him from office and leave him vulnerable to criminal charges.

“The Mugabe regime is in breach of the fundamental principles of democracy, the rule of law and equality regardless of race, colour or creed set out in the Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration.

“Zimbabwe’s continuing presence within the Commonwealth undermines its integrity. It must be suspended at the earliest opportunity,” Mr Goff said.

Ends

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