The absence of an Act of Parliament regulating the operational use of intelligence services in Zimbabwe is a concern for the MDC.
The Army is regulated through the Defence Act, the Zimbabwe Republic Police is guided by the Police Act while the Prisons and Correctional Services are regulated through the Prisons and Correctional Service Act.
Only the Central Intelligence office has no Act of Parliament guiding their operations, excitable individuals can manipulate the loose arrangement.
This is worsened by the recent appointment of Owen ‘Mudha’ Ncube as the head of the Ministry responsible for the intelligence services.
The appointment is a manifestation of a failure, reluctance and disinterest of a total break from the past by the current government.
In this day and age the authorities cannot be rewarding individuals who must be holed in solitary confinement under the roof of a supermax facility through executive appointments.
Put differently, the atrocities committed by this shady individual only warrant imprisonment in the state’s biggest penitentiary, Chikurubi Maximum prison.
Mnangagwa in his wisdom or lack of it thereof decided to elevate a mobster and formalize a vigilante by making him one of the most powerful occupants of the state.
For the common Zimbabwean this appointment is a bad sign, it sends a chill down the spine of those with different views from the ones held by the governors.
It is an appointment of shame.
An appointment meant to send a clear message to prospective dissents that contrary to the previous arrangement where torture would be outsourced from vigilante groups like Chipangano, now the state has an official head of a militia funded on tax payer’s account.
Mudha is a known violent kingpin, a ring leader of a Midlands based terror cult known as Al-Shabaab.
This group has in the past orchestrated raids of homes belonging to opposition members demolishing property, torturing activists and their families.
He is a thug who is known for public brawls including the infamous incident in July 2014 in which he was involved in a fistfight with Masango Matambanadzo from (Kwekwe Central) at Amaveni Shopping Centre.
The fight came over allegations of instructing youths to perform acts of arson over a campaign including the two against each other.
In Kwekwe senior MDC leaders like Blessing Chebundo have been victims of violence orchestrated by this fellow.
At some point he was involved in a near fist fight with Tapiwanashe Matangaidze who was then a serving Deputy Minister in the government of Zimbabwe.
The point we make is that an individual with no integrity must not be allowed anywhere near state security apparatus – it endangers society.
More importantly this is a period where President Chamisa has through his five point plan called for political and institutional reform.
Security sector reform can only be possible when men and women of integrity are put in charge of state departments; Mudha is certainly not one of them.
We also make the point that security services must be used to protect the territorial integrity of the land and maintain law and order.
The appointment of Mudha is a clear personalization of the Intelligence services to serve a narrow personal agenda of power retention through repression, torture of civilians, abductions and forced disappearances.
It is a turning of a security service into an official enemy of the people meant to keep dissenting voices silent and petrified.
We also restate the need to establish the independent complains mechanism against members of the security services provided in section 210 of the constitution.
“An Act of parliament must provide an effective and independent mechanism for receiving and investigating complaints from members of the public about misconduct on the part of members of the security services and for remedying any harm caused by such misconducts.”
A combination of ignoring the urgency and obligation of this provision and appointment of compromised individuals brews a toxic concoction, sadly at the expense of public safety.
We have in the past complained of abuse of the CIO in a time where billions of dollars are shipped out of the country, financial intelligence could have been used to stop the bleeding.
We are therefore of the view that Mnangagwa must do the following:
a) Reverse the appointment of Mudha forthwith
b) Transform the Intelligence Services into an organization that can contribute in combating corruption, fight illicit financial flows and provide forensics around the trail of funds externalized.
c) Enact a law governing the operational use of the intelligence services in Zimbabwe.
d) Establish the independent complains mechanism against members of the security sector provided in section 210 of the constitution.
e) Prioritize security sector transformation including ensuring the independence and professionalization of all security services.