Mixed views over Sadc call for talks with ‘securocrats’

Local political analysts are divided over South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team’s intention to meet security chiefs as part of their efforts to cause the reform of the sensitive sector, widely seen as pro-Zanu PF.

Some say Zuma’s team is within its mandate as security sector reforms are in line with the GPA signed by Zanu PF and the two MDCs. Others, however, believe allowing the team to do so would set a dangerous precedent likely to compromise national security.

Article X111, section 13.1 of the GPA says the agreement should ensure that: “. . . State organs and institutions do not belong to any political party and should be impartial in discharging their duties.”

Against this background some analysts yesterday questioned Zanu PF’s motives to bar the Sadc facilitation team from meeting the “securocrats”.

“All I know is that the GPA speaks of security sector reform. People are bound to ask Zanu PF’s motives in refusing to allow the facilitation team from speaking to the security chiefs. It sounds confrontational on the part of Zanu PF,” said
publisher and political commentator Ibbo Mandaza.

Another analyst, Charles Mangongera, said it was ingenuous for anybody to suggest that security sector reform was tantamount to regime change.

“It’s even more ridiculous when it comes from professors of political science such as Jonathan Moyo who should know better that Zimbabwe is undergoing an irreversible transition and security sector reform is a critical component of any democratic transition,” Mangongera said.

University of Zimbabwe professor of political science John Makumbe said Zuma was within his mandate because the GPA called for security sector reform.

“The facilitators are not stepping out of their mandate,” he said. “They are doing what Sadc, negotiators and the principals asked them to do.”
However, constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku disagreed.

“If they (facilitators) are allowed (to meet security chiefs), it will create a dangerous precedent where the security sector becomes an independent entity that can interact with other people independently,” Madhuku told NewsDay.

“I agree with Zanu PF’s approach that Sadc must not be the one to run Zimbabwe. The country is not run by Sadc (and) the security sector is not separate from government.”

Madhuku added: “When you want to deal with the security sector, talk to the politicians because the security chiefs come and go. They are appointed by politicians.”

On Wednesday, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said it would not be acceptable to allow anybody to come and meet the country’s security chiefs.

“Where on earth have you heard people coming to see security forces of another country?” he asked, adding: “It’s nonsensical.”

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