Commonwealth to drum up aid for Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe could bounce back to the Commonwealth family as the grouping would next week in Johannesburg hold a roundtable meeting to drum up humanitarian aid for the country. Mugabe has in the past described the grouping as “the Queen’s tea party”. The three-day meeting begins on Tuesday.

Commonwealth is a grouping of former British colonies.

President Mugabe single handedly dragged Zimbabwe out of the commonwealth in 2003 after the group suspended Zimbabwe following controversial 2002 presidential elections.

The discussion is seen as an effort to re-engage Zimbabwe on the humanitarian front and was organised by the Commonwealth Committee on Zimbabwe.
Carl Wright, chairman of Commonwealth Committee on Zimbabwe said “Our aim will be to marshal the Commonwealth’s professional and other networks in support of existing aid efforts, and the medium to long-term prospects for reconstruction and development in Zimbabwe.

“We hope that the roundtable will result in practical action plans and the identification of the necessary resources to take these forward. Furthermore we hope that the issues arising out of the roundtable will be brought to the attention of Commonwealth Heads of Government when they meet in Trinidad and Tobago later this year.”

According to the programme, various working groups would examine the immediate humanitarian crisis across key sectors in the country and formulate responses on a national and international level. Zimbabwe would be represented by Regional Integration Minister Priscilla Misihairabwi.

Other notable participants at the roundtable are Moeletsi Mbeki, deputy chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs, Cephas Zinhumwe of Zimbabwe National Association of NGOs, Christine Platt president of the Commonwealth Association of Planners, Fanie du Toit of the Institute for Justice & Reconciliation, Jay Naidoo chairman of the Development Bank of Southern Africa and Cyril Ramaphosa of the Commonwealth Business Council.

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