Saturday, October 29, 2016

A new twist: Zimbabwean military personnel in the civilian prosecuting agency

The Zimbabwe Independent writes here about the surprising number of military personnel seconded to the National Prosecuting Authority. Excerpt:
A legal expert with knowledge of the goings-on at the NPA told the Independent the deployment of the military was unlawful. The lawyer said section 213 of the Constitution, which deals with the deployment of the military, states that the President of Zimbabwe as commander-in-chief can only deploy soldiers “in defence of Zimbabwe; in support of the police service in the maintenance of public orderor in support of the police service and other civilian authorities in the event of an emergency or disaster”. 
“It is clear that as long as soldiers are not engaged primarily in their normal and ordinary day-to-day duties as provided for by the constitution, any deployment of soldiers not sanctioned by the President is illegal,” said the legal expert. 
“Deployment encompasses engagement in civilian institutions. However, assuming that the President deployed soldiers to the NPA, the former was enjoined by the Constitution of Zimbabwe to inform parliament in terms of section 214.” 
The section states that when the Defence Forces are deployed in Zimbabwe to assist in the maintenance of public order or outside Zimbabwe; “the President must cause Parliament to be informed, promptly and in appropriate detail, of the reasons for their deployment and … where they are deployed in Zimbabwe, the place where they are deployed”. 
He, however, said: “A reading of the parliamentary Hansard has not shown anywhere where the President has informed parliament that a troop of so many soldiers were deployed to the NPA. What that means is that the President has not deployed any soldier to the NPA. 
“In view of the de facto deployment of the defence forces to the NPA by whoever has such de facto powers, the question begging an answer is why militarism in a peaceful country such as ours?”

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