THE opposition MDC-T yesterday described the government’s recent deployment of State security personnel to provide security at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) soccer tournament in Equatorial Guinea as unconstitutional as Parliament was not consulted.
President Robert Mugabe, the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), last week deployed soldiers, police and intelligence officers to provide VVIP security at the Afcon tournament which is being hosted by his key ally, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
“The deployment of ZDF details to Equatorial Guinea without the involvement of Parliament is a clear, blatant, violation of the provisions of Section 214(b) of the Constitution,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
Section 214 (b) reads: “The president must cause Parliament to be informed, promptly and in appropriate detail, of the reasons for their deployment and— (i) where they are deployed in Zimbabwe, the place where they are deployed and (ii) where they are deployed outside Zimbabwe, the country in which they are deployed.”
Gutu said the unconstitutional decision was not an isolated incident, but a growing trend by Mugabe and his Zanu PF government to disregard constitutional provisions.
In 1998, Mugabe defied the same constitutional provision when he deployed the army to the Democratic Republic of Congo to defend that country’s then leader, Laurent Kabila, who faced a rebellion. National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda said he was not privy to the deployment of the forces.
“I am currently on leave and, therefore, I’m not privy to what has taken place,” he said.
“You can, therefore, get a comment from either the Defence or Foreign Affairs ministry.”
ZDF spokesman Colonel Overson Mugwisi last Monday said: “The deployment was at the invitation of the Equatorial Guinea government.
“The deployment will be sponsored by Equatorial Guinea.
“The purpose of the deployment is to provide VVIP protection during Afcon.”
The number of defence forces deployed and the quantities of the equipment they took with them or how much the government has paid them still remains a tightly kept secret.
The security forces, according to the ZDF, will return home at the end of the football tournament next month.