New dates for Commonwealth

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Harare (New Ziana) -The Rwandan government on Monday announced the week of 20 June 2022 as the new date agreed with member countries for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which it is scheduled to host in the capital Kigali.

CHOGM had been scheduled to take place in Kigali in June 2020 but has been postponed twice due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting is customarily held every two years and is the highest consultative and policy-making gathering of mostly former British colonies.

Commonwealth leaders chose Rwanda to host their next summit during their meeting in London in 2018.

In a statement, the Rwandan government said President Paul Kagame and Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland had made the announcement.

It quoted President Kagame saying: “Rwanda is pleased to welcome all delegates and participants to Kigali for a safe and productive CHOGM Rwanda 2022. The last two years have made it clear to us that we are more connected than ever before and we must work together to achieve the tangible and sustainable results we want. The long awaited meeting will be an important occasion to come together to address the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to build on innovative technological and economic
opportunities to solve other key problems facing our citizens.”

The Rwandan government also quoted Scotland saying “I am delighted that the Commonwealth family can finally be reunited, four years on from our last CHOGM in London. Our meetings in Rwanda will give us a real opportunity to reaffirm the values that bind the Commonwealth together and focus on vital issues, including the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling climate change and poverty, boosting trade and promoting sustainable
development – all issues that can only be dealt with decisively through multilateral cooperation and mutual support.
“We have adapted throughout the pandemic, holding ministerial meetings online. It is with great joy and anticipation that I look ahead to a face-to-face Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. This will be the first CHOGM to be held in Africa for over a decade and I would like to commend the Government and people of Rwanda for their outstanding commitment and dedication to delivering an exemplary CHOGM in Kigali. I thank all Rwandans for their grace and fortitude in undertaking such detailed preparations to ensure a safe, secure and productive CHOGM that drives the Commonwealth forward in these trying times.”

Through its secretariat, the Commonwealth supports member countries to build democratic and inclusive institutions, strengthen governance and promote justice and human rights.

Its work assists to grow economies and boost trade, deliver national resilience, empower young people, and
address threats such as climate change, debt and inequality.

Zimbabwe withdrew the from the Commonwealth in 2003, after Britain had encouraged other European countries to slap sanctions on the country as punishment for expropriating vast tracts of prime agricultural land from the minority whites and redistributing it to the previously marginalised black majority.

When the new administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa assumed office in 2017, it expressed willingness to re-join the grouping, and processes have been going on since towards that, with the matter expected to come up for discussion in the forthcoming meeting.

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