It is believed that Her Majesty The Queen is seeking to improve relations between the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe and even hopes that the latter will rejoin the Commonwealth. Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003 though there are indications that the Southern African country and Britain will soon engage in high-level diplomatic engagements in Harare and London.
Since President Mnangagwa’s inauguration last year, senior British officials have been sent to Zimbabwe to try and improve relations. Former Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign Office, Rory Stewart, attended the new President’s inauguration while permanent under-secretary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Simon McDonald, also made a trip.
Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth of Nations in 2003 after the country embarked on the fast-track Land Reform Programme in the wake of the refusal of the then Labour Government to honour colonial obligations agreed to at the Lancaster House Constitutional Conference in 1979.
According to sources, Britain is keen to mend ties with Zimbabwe owing to its need to seek new frontiers following its exit from the European Union. President Mnangagwa has even made encouraging comments about the Commonwealth and hailed Brexit as the perfect opportunity to forge new ties with Britain.
In an interview with the Financial Times, President Mnangagwa said that he had no problems with The Queen and that relations between the two countries only soured because of Tony Blair and his Government – who reneged on his country’s obligations to fund land reform in Zimbabwe as agreed in talks in 1979.
The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organisation of 52 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire. Her Majesty The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth, though this role carries no power. Within the Commonwealth, there are over 30 republics and five monarchies who have a different Head of State while The Queen is ceremonial Head of State and reigning constitutional monarch of only 16 members of the Commonwealth, collectively known as the Commonwealth Realms.
There has been no official confirmation that Zimbabwe will rejoin the Commonwealth.