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CHOGM should have expelled Zimbabwe - Brash

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader

08 December 2003

CHOGM should have expelled Zimbabwe - Brash

National Party Leader Don Brash says CHOGM should have moved to expel Zimbabwe at its meeting in Nigeria, before giving Robert Mugabe a stage from which to grandstand.

"The lack of tough action at CHOGM exposes the Commonwealth to questions over its credibility."

Dr Brash is commenting in the wake of today's announcement by Robert Mugabe that he plans to withdraw Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth. The action follows the CHOGM meeting in Nigeria, which opted to keep Zimbabwe suspended from the Commonwealth.

"Zimbabwe has had 21 months to reign in the lawless thuggery and bring its human rights record up to the standards set for Commonwealth membership. It hasn't achieved that. CHOGM should've exerted some authority and shown some leadership.

"Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been quoted as saying 'the book was thrown at Fiji, the book was thrown at Pakistan, at Nigeria, there's no reason why consistency shouldn't continue with Zimbabwe'.

"Robert Mugabe has shown no remorse, refuses to meet with the Secretary-General and has now delivered on his threats to leave the Commonwealth.

"The lack of action at CHOGM has given him a platform from which to boast about his defiance," says Dr Brash.

"The New Zealand perspective should have been made a lot clearer. Instead, the Nigerian summit was allowed to meander to an end with little more than a continuation of the status quo.

"In the meantime, impoverished Zimbabweans face more bloodshed while Robert Mugabe and his family plan their latest luxury mansion." The National Party is also congratulating Don McKinnon on his reappointment as Commonwealth secretary-general.

"The uncertainty over whether he would win a second term was the price he paid for backing a tough stance against Zimbabwe," says Dr Brash.

Ends


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