Marty Peretz statements about Mbeki (“Mbeki the Nutcase”) are appreciated, but I’m relatively certain that he’s wrong about this bit:
But the UK and the US are also not entirely innocent. Zimbabwe is still a part of the British Commonwealth and Great Britain is represented in Harare by a High Commissioner.
I’m fairly certain that Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth in a bit of a snit a few years back. 2003 maybe? Must check and see…
Anyway, it’s a small point in an otherwise funny little attack on Mbeki.
Update: And right I am.
Zimbabwe was suspended in 2002 over concerns with the electoral and land reform policies of Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF government, before withdrawing from the organization in 2003. It had previously been suspended from the Commonwealth under the country’s former name of Rhodesia from its unilateral declaration of independence in 1965 until its internationally recognised independence as Zimbabwe in 1980.
Which report is seconded by the Beeb.
And, finally, so does the Commonwealth itself:
“It is disappointing that the Government of Zimbabwe has taken this step. All members will be saddened by it. I hope that Zimbabwe will wish to return in due course, as have other members in the past. In line with the CHOGM Statement on Zimbabwe earlier this week, members of the Commonwealth will continue to seek to engage Zimbabwe to promote national reconciliation and facilitate its return to the Commonwealth.
“Meanwhile in the light of Zimbabwe’s withdrawal, Zimbabwe becomes a non-member state and is no longer eligible to receive Commonwealth assistance or to attend Commonwealth meetings. Commonwealth organisations should treat Zimbabwe as a non-member state.”
Note to Editors
One consequence of Zimbabwe’s decision to leave the Commonwealth is that a Commonwealth country’s High Commission in Zimbabwe becomes an Embassy, with its High Commissioner now being designated an Ambassador. Equally, Zimbabwe’s High Commissions become Embassies and their High Commissioners are now designated Ambassadors.