Security sector reforms GPA issue: MDC

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC has reacted angrily to claims by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa that security sector realignment is not part of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Mnangagwa, who is also Zanu PF’s secretary for legal affairs, made the claims in an interview with State-controlled media reporters at the National Defence College.

“You must understand that the MDC-T and the MDC are in Government as a result of the GPA so they should restrict themselves to issues of the GPA of which security sector reforms are not a part,” Mnangagwa told reporters.

“The major issues that are outstanding are the issues of illegal sanctions and the continued broadcasting of hate messages by pirate radio stations from abroad.

“In fact the security services of Zimbabwe are renowned the world over for diligence and professionalism,” he said.

“Those who speak of security reforms are driven by the illegal regime change agenda to remove us (from power) and install their puppets.

“They intend  to remove the current crop of leadership within the army and replace them with that of their own choice who will pander to their whims,” he said.

Mnangagwa spoke amid escalating military threats to veto the political transition in the country if President Robert Mugabe loses the forthcoming poll.

Top Zanu PF figures have also fanned the flames by threatening to seize power if anyone without liberation war credentials wins — and by vowing to crush the opposition, described as “puppets of the West” seeking to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle.

The words reflect deeply-rooted thinking in large parts of the top echelons.

The MDC said in a statement Mnangagwa was “lying.”

“For the record the GPA in Article XIII (13.10) states that State organisations and institutions of which the army, police, prisons and the Central Intelligence Organisation are part of, do not belong to any political party and should be impartial in the discharge of their duties,” the MDC statement said.

“In the same article, the GPA also calls for the inclusion in the training of members of the uniformed forces of the subjects on human rights, international humanitarian law and statute law so that there is greater understanding and full appreciation of their roles and duties in a multi-party democratic system, ensuring that all State organs and institutions strictly observe the principles of the rule of law and remain non-partisan and impartial.

“Contrary to Mnangagwa’s unsubstantiated lies, the above article clearly shows that some State security organs are clearly operating against the laws of the country.”

The MDC statement said State institutions and organs must be impartial and must serve the people.
“The police must be a people’s police,” the statement said.

“The army must be a people’s army. The CIO must be a people’s CIO. Security sector re-alignment has also been included in the new constitution passed in a March 16 referendum and is expected to sail through Parliament next month.

Reads part of the new constitution: “Members of the security services must act in accordance with this Constitution and law. Neither the security services nor any of their members, in the exercise of their functions — act in a partisan manner; further the interests of any political party or cause; prejudice the lawful interests of any political party or cause.”

The MDC insisted on “security sector realignment” before holding free and fair elections.

In his report to the Sadc Troika on politics, defence and security cooperation held in Pretoria on March 9, President Jacob Zuma —Sadc’s pointman in the Zimbabwe dialogue — said “security sector realignment” will have to be done before the election, a condition vigorously resisted by Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

“Security sector realignment cannot be postponed any longer,” Zuma said in his report to the Troika. - Gift Phiri, Political Editor

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