PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s failure to appoint a minister in charge of State Security has raised speculation that he wants full control of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), with legal experts saying the Zanu PF leader was in breach of the Constitution.
The Security ministry has for long been regarded as key and Mugabe’s takeover implies that he personally wanted to direct operations there.
Bulawayo lawyer Matshobana Ncube said the Constitution made provisions that the President must appoint a minister in charge of the country’s intelligence services.
“The term ‘must’ in the legal language is a peremptory term that the President should appoint a minister responsible for any national intelligence services,” he said.
“The absence of that particular ministry is a violation of the Constitution.
“The absence of the ministry in charge of intelligence services means there is something amiss, as the intelligence service will not be accountable to anyone.
“There is a need for a ministry with a clearly spelt out portfolio that looks at the intelligence services.”
The ministry, which some see as part of the Zanu PF succession matrix, was previously under Sydney Sekeramayi.
By taking reins of the ministry, many speculate that Mugabe wants to influence succession politics in his party.
MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart said the absence of a State Security ministry was an area of concern in addition to the gender imbalance and provincial ministers of State.
“Unlike in the past, the Constitution now states that the President must appoint a minister responsible for State security,” he said.
“It raises a lot of interest why a State Security minister was not appointed. The Constitution spells out that the head of the intelligence services needs to be transparent and accountable and should not be biased towards any political party.”
Senior analyst in the Southern Africa International Crisis Group, Trevor Maisiri, said Mugabe wanted to consolidate the loyalty of the State intelligence services under him as an individual.
“Contrary to claims by some that Mugabe will leave office after elections, the appointments indicate that he wants to rule for the full five years of his term,” he said.
“He wants the State security services to be accountable to him as an individual.
“The shuffling of Cabinet posts also shows that Mugabe does not want either of the warring factions to get any advantage.
“The Defence, Finance and Mines ministries have been given to Mugabe loyalists.”
The political analyst said Mugabe needed the intelligence’s loyalty, particularly to gather information on what is happening within Zanu PF, the country and abroad so as to maintain his position.
“It is a critical issue to control the CIO,” he said.
“He defies the Constitution because it makes provisions that the President has to appoint an Intelligence Services minister, who will be accountable to the State,” Maisiri said.
No comment could be obtained from Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, as his mobile phone was unreachable.