We note with concern the Zimbabwe Registrar General’s refusal to renew the passport of Trevor Ncube, owner of the Standard and Independent newspapers, and threats to his citizenship, which might affect the viability of Zimbabwe’s remaining independent media newspapers. We deplore the serious consequences for media and freedom of expression that closure of the last two independent papers would have in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth in March 2002, following the presidential election, which was marred by a high level of politically motivated violence and during which conditions did not adequately allow for the free expression of the will of the electors. In December 2003, following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting statement on Zimbabwe, the Government of Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth.
If Zimbabwe wished to rejoin the Commonwealth they would need to approach the Commonwealth Secretary-General and prove that they now meet the basic principles as set out in the Harare Commonwealth Declaration.