via Troops AFCON mission illegal, MDC-T – New Zimbabwe 28/01/2015
MDC-T MPs have questioned government’s decision to deploy military personnel to Equatorial Guinea for the Africa Cup of Nations saying it was unconstitutional and a waste of tax payers’ money.
Jessie Majome, the MDC-T MP for Harare West constituency, used the question and answer session in the national assembly to ask why government had to send military personnel to the oil rich country.
“According to the constitution, the army can only be deployed to foreign nations under four circumstances, the first one being on UN or African Union duty or any other constitutionally organised body where Zimbabwe is a member of; secondly, when the country is defending its interest in the foreign territory.
“Three, when the country is going to help a member state to defend its territory and upon request. And lastly, madam speaker, the law provides that the military maybe be deployed to foreign land when it is going to defend its territorial sovereignty. But the questions is, the deployment of the soldiers in Equatorial Guinea does it fit in any of the said categories?” Majome said.
Lazarus Dokora who stood in for the leader of government business in the national assembly, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said Majome should put her question in writing and take it to the ministry of defence for suitable response.
Mnangagwa and Defence minister, Sydney Sekeramayi were attending the Zanu PF politburo and could not respond to the question.
Majome had said the law further provided that when the country dispatches its troops outside the country like it did to Equatorial Guinea that should be ratified by parliament within a specified period.
Zimbabwe at the start of the Africa Cup of Nations, deployed soldiers, police and intelligence officers to Malabo to provide security during the on-going Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
President Mugabe is a strong ally of Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
Mugabe and Nguema became close allies in 2004 when Zimbabwean security details intercepted mercenaries’ en route to Equatorial Guinea where they had plotted a coup.
In 1997, Mugabe unilaterally deployed troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to fight alongside the late President Laurent Kabila who was battling rebels supported by Uganda and Rwanda.
However, the deployment came at a heavy cost to Zimbabwe, with economists tracing the genesis of the country’s decade long economic problems to the DRC civil war.