079_Global12_CWN_V4

Global issue 12

the review was undertaken by a group of commonwealth networkThe Long ViewEncouraged by Ramphal, Anyaoku joined host of the Kuala Lumpur meeting, the then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, in the end only met once – on the eve of the Harare CHOGM. But the groundwork for senior Commonwealth officials. these discussions from the outset, despite the fact that his term as Secretary-General was not due to start until July 1990. The officials’ re- port and the discussion by heads in the HLAG, particularly on guidelines for election observer missions and on membership, were taken forward to the heads of government retreat at Elephant Hills, near Victoria Falls. From those efforts emerged the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, which summarised the associa- tion’s core values and placed particular empha- sis on democracy and human rights. Common- wealth journalist Derek Ingram observed that Heads of government gathered in Harare, Zimbabwe the declaration also, just as importantly, “set a As a result of the debate, Kenya, the Sey- as milestones were reached in the transi- new agenda for the future”. chelles and Malawi agreed to open the door tion process. They looked to assist South Critics pointed to the Declaration’s “un- to multi-party democracy. Zambia, encour- Africa’s post-apartheid reconstruction, and even quality” and its “polysyllabic sole- aged by Anyaoku, had already done so prior Secretary-General Anyaoku was asked to cisms”, preferring some of the drafting of to CHOGM. Indeed, Kenneth Kaunda left travel immediately to Pretoria to open ne- the Singapore Declaration 20 years before. the summit early to resume campaigning in gotiations with the regime on a Common- Omissions (such as a specific reference to Zambia’s first-ever multi-party election. wealth role in the process of change. media freedom) were identified, and some Of course, Harare covered other issues. What was the lasting legacy of Harare? saw the Declaration’s reference to support It was a well-attended and good tempered For many, the big question was whether the for democracy “according to local circum- meeting, and a mood of optimism prevailed. reforms promised in the Declaration would stances” as weasel words, a cop-out clause Of the 48 countries eligible to be present, 43 be implemented. “Would change follow”, for those with little real commitment to were represented by their head of govern- queried Derek Ingram, “Or were the leaders democracy. Given that the main proponent ment. Sam Nujoma, the president of a newly just going home to continue as before?” By of the wording was India’s Prime Minister independent Namibia, attended for the first and large, there was appreciable change – in Narasimha Rao, this accusation was im- Zambia, in Ghana, in Bangladesh, in Kenya, plausible. But it did reflect the view, forci- in Malawi, in the Seychelles – often facili- The Harare Declaration bly expressed by Mahathir that the days of tated by the Commonwealth. But military exporting Westminster-style democracy to reflected the popular regimes in Nigeria and (after the 1994 coup) the developing Commonwealth were over. in The Gambia were unmoved. By 1993, For his part, Anyaoku provided his own view that the days of Anyaoku looked forward to the day when clarification. All were agreed on the essen- exporting Westminster- military rule and unconstitutional change tial ingredients of democracy, he argued. But no longer blighted the association. Accord- democracy, he added, must “respect the cul- style democracy ingly, preparations were made for proposing tural milieu in which it is to be practised”. a mechanism that could deal with recalci- There were some positive signs that the to the developing trant members and uphold Commonwealth Commonwealth meant business. First, in Commonwealth were over values. The execution of the Nigerian activ- association with the Declaration, heads of ist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other members government approved and issued guide- of the ethnic Ogoni people during the 1995 lines for the deployment of election observ- time, though Cameroon’s application re- CHOGM gave great impetus to the birth er missions to help entrench democratic mained in limbo. Heads agreed that adher- of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action practice. Between 1990 and 2000, 29 such ence to Harare principles would in future be Group (CMAG), but its origins were earlier. missions would be sent to a wide range of a key test for would-be members. Ironically, the greatest blow to the member countries, often accompanied by John Major’s soothing affability was a ‘Harare principles’ became apparent ten technical assistance and the mediation of welcome change from Mrs Thatcher’s di- years later. A divided Commonwealth the Secretary-General in cases of political dactic dogmatism. He announced that the proved to be largely impotent in the face of difficulty. Second, the adoption of the Dec- UK was unilaterally rescheduling debts un- the democratic and human rights abuses of laration was preceded by an electrifying der the Trinidad Terms (which he had pro- its erstwhile host – Robert Gabriel Mugabe. two-hour debate on democracy and human moted while Chancellor of the Exchequer); rights in one of CHOGM’s Executive Ses- and he inspired a Commonwealth cricket sions. Of the Commonwealth’s 50 members match at the Harare Sports Club. Stuart Mole is Honorary Fellow in Politics at at that time, no less than ten were military With Mandela on hand, heads agreed to Exeter University and the former Director of the or one-party states, 20 percent of the total. a phasing-out of sanctions in South Africa, Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Office globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l79


Global issue 12
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