via Mugabe confirms he is in charge of state intelligence | SW Radio Africa by Mthulisi Mathuthu 13 September 2013
As debate over the newly announced cabinet continues, it emerged that Mugabe has allocated himself the administration of the intelligence portfolio, under whom the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) falls.
Reports said Mugabe confirmed to journalists that he will personally be in charge of the state intelligence – a first since he became Zimbabwe’s leader.
The Daily News quoted Mugabe saying there was ‘no vacancy’ for an intelligence minister as ‘Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa will be in charge, together with me.’
Mutasa, who has previously served as intelligence minister, is one of Mugabe’s trusted loyalists.
Suggesting that there was nothing awkward about the new development Mugabe said: ‘In other countries they don’t even appoint a minister (of state security)’.
Mugabe was responding to questions from journalists soon after he swore in his new cabinet Wednesday.
In his cabinet line up announced this week Mugabe curiously omitted the intelligence portfolio, sparking speculation that he may have violated the constitution.
A constitutional law expert told SW Radio Africa this week that section 104 of the constitution, permitted the President “to reserve to himself or herself the administration of an Act, Ministry or department”.
But observers were quick to question Mugabe’s capacity to run an organisation of such complexity and sensitivity given both his advanced age and busy schedule.
Mugabe 89 is routinely out of the country either on official business or for medical check-ups in Singapore. Recent reports have said his health is deteriorating, raising prospects that he won’t cope with the demands.
International Crisis Group (ICG) analyst Trevor Maisiri, thinks otherwise. Maisiri told SW Radio Africa that Mugabe will be ‘competent’ as long as Mutasa, the heads of the CIO and other state departments remain loyal to him.
Maisiri said the overriding concern for Mugabe was loyalty and control and if the composition of his latest cabinet is anything to go by he has already secured both.
Among some of Mugabe’s loyalists appointed Monday are defense and justice ministers, Sydney Sekeramayi and Emmerson Mnangagwa.
However, Maisiri further speculated that by taking charge of the state intelligence Mugabe could be seeking to bring ‘the CIO’s growing influence’ under his direct control.
The CIO, known to act with impunity, are not only seen to be responsible for Mugabe’s controversial re-election but of his overall political survival in the face of stiff competition from the MDC formations, making them even more influential.