Minister grilled over Afcon deployments

HARARE - Members of Parliament yesterday grilled Sydney Sekeramayi, minister of Defence over the deployment of members of the defence forces to Equatorial Guinea without their approval.

The matter was raised by MDC Senator Watch Sibanda in the Senate chamber during the ministers’ question time.

Zimbabwe deployed soldiers, police and intelligence officers to the West African nation early this year to provide security during the on-going Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

“I seek clarification on the members of defence forces who were deployed to do duty in Equatorial Guinea, when we know that Parliament is supposed to give green light for that to happen, who authorised the deployment?”asked Sibanda.

Sekeramayi defended the deployment arguing that soldiers had not gone to war but were on  a peace-keeping mission to maintain peace and order during the football African Cup of Nations tournament.

“We do not need Parliament permission if we are sending soldiers on a peace-keeping mission as what we did when we deployed them to Equatorial Guinea,”said Sekeramayi.

“We were asked by the Guinea government to help them with soldiers to keep peace during the tournament. The expertise of our soldiers is needed in African Union (AU) and that is why we send them,” said Sekeramayi.

The matter was also raised in the national assembly on Wednesday by MDC MP for Harare West constituency Jessie Majome who said it was unconstitutional and a waste of tax payers’ money.

She said the law further provided that when the country dispatches its troops outside the country like it did to Equatorial Guinea, it should be ratified by Parliament within a specified period.

“According to the constitution, the army can only be deployed to foreign nations under four circumstances, the first one being on United Nations (UN) or AU duty or any other constitutionally-organised body where Zimbabwe is a member of; secondly, when the country is defending its interest in the foreign territory,”said Majome.

“Three, when the country is going to help a member state to defend its territory and upon request. And lastly, Madam Speaker, the law provides that the military may be deployed to foreign land when it is going to defend its territorial sovereignty. But the question is, the deployment of the soldiers in Equatorial Guinea does it fit in any of the said categories?” Majome queried.

Comments (8)

Minister sekeremai, Peace keeping in E. Guinea? Really? Is there war there or soccer? I think your answer is far from convincing. its laughable. Thank you

Dr - 30 January 2015

sekeramayi its a waste of resources how can you do that.tiri kushaya masalary increment why waste money.

uth maitano - 30 January 2015

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CARTRIDGE GALLERY - 30 January 2015

@Garikayi strong language but you are so right! They were there to look after the interests of a fellow dictator. We can't afford to pay our soldiers at home so who picked up the bill for this jaunt? If EG paid Zim for these services where is the proof?

saundy - 30 January 2015

You will hear all the noise when these security people returned complaining that they were not paid at all or were paid in "Bond coins" and not USSD and the top brass took all the cream. Remember the youth games. This must be a Mission of fortune

X-MAN IV - 30 January 2015

Why not send policemen to maintain order . Soldiers are not trained for that kind of job and the answer from the minister clearly shows that he is a dander head and is not fit for that kind of a job .

Diibulaanyika - 30 January 2015

Uriduzvi sekeramayi

kitsiyatota - 31 January 2015

Sekeremayi, you are a gammatox! what are you still doing as a Minister of Defence? Do not ever ever send our boys out without parliamentary approval. We want transparentness. You guys get a back hand pay up. We do not need that crap!

Mbareboy - 31 January 2015

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