‘Parly must closely monitor security sector’



PARLIAMENTS have been urged to strictly monitor the security sector in their countries especially in times of conflict to avoid human rights violations.

This came up during debate last Thursday in the National Assembly on a motion on a report on resolutions of the 56th and 57th sessions of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly which was moved by Mwenezi West MP Priscilla Moyo (Zanu PF).

Zimbabwe is a member of the ACP-EU Parliament, and MPs who contributed to debate called on State security agents to act in a professional manner, and not perpetrate human rights violations.

The report came at a time when the security sector in Zimbabwe has been accused of gross human rights violations, including torture and abduction of citizens.

“Regrettably, Parliaments’ role to hold their governments to account is hugely compromised, especially in conflict, post-conflict and fragile States due to lack of resources and capacities that include access to information and technical expertise, among others,” the ACP-EU report said.

“It is, therefore, of paramount importance that national governments in the ACP-EU countries develop expertise and capacities to monitor the security sector, including through budgetary matters, domestic and foreign security policies,” they said.

The report said some of the causes of political instability and insecurity included competition for resources, poverty, corruption and abuse of power, human rights violations, cyber-security threats, human trafficking, extremism, organised crime and terrorism, and climate change, among others.

MDC-T MP Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Zimbabwe should take note of the security issues within the context of the situation in Mozambique, which is currently battling an Islamic insurgency, which threatens to destabilise the southern African region.

“I do not think that MPs in this House have an appreciation of the kind of problems that we are faced with, in terms of not only the region, but as a country. The Defence minister (Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri) must come to the House to issue a ministerial statement in terms of what is happening in Mozambique and the impact that it has around issues of gender,” she said.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga  said the issue of unemployed youths was also a security threat as it was making them restless, and susceptible to drug trafficking at a time when there was incapacity of the police and security sector to deal with some of these issues.

Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) blasted government saying its security agents  focused more on destroying people’s lives.

“I see that the ACP-EU was very clear about the rule of law, it was a key issue which was brought up to see if Zimbabwe is part of the global world in terms of the rule of law when you have the State security more focused on destroying people’s lives from a blatant use of State apparatus — where you expect State security to be more of an economic tool which educates His Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) about economic sabotage, but have turned themselves into a unit which deals with any voice that wants to speak.

“People are ambushed or killed through the CIO [Central Intelligence Organisation] and there is no position which is given from the CIO about this; a case like that of Itai Dzamara is one issue which whether you like or not the world knows about it and we have done nothing about it, we ignore it but we expect to be part of the global village,” he said.

Mliswa said Zimbabwe cannot be part of the global village if citizens continue to be arrested for speaking out.

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