Zimbabwe: MDC-T to Reform CIO

THE MDC-T government plans to have legislation that would govern the operations of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), among a raft of reforms designed to create a professional security outfit.

MDC-T has been insisting on security sector reforms saying some of the CIO operatives were dabbling into politics and operating like an arm of Zanu PF.

Reforming the security forces is one of the conditions agreed to by principals in the inclusive government but nothing is moving along that front.

In the policy document, Agenda for Real Transformation (ART) launched yesterday, the legislation would ensure that the organisation is non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority.

"There will be an intelligence legislation which emphasises the themes of an ethical code of conduct, the rule of law and parliamentary oversight," the policy document said.

It said the spy agency has been abused by successive governments to subvert democracy and the rights of the people of Zimbabwe.

However, the regulation of the CIO would ensure that a fair and acceptable balance is reached between the need to protect sensitive information and the demands of freedom of information.

Currently the spy agency reports directly to the President.

MDC plans to have a defence force that ensures that peace and security prevails and is subordinated to elected civilian authority.

Service chiefs such as Defence Forces commander Constantine Chiwenga, Major Generals Douglas Nyikayaramba and Martin Chedondo, among others, have said they would not salute MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the event that he is elected President of Zimbabwe.

The document said the challenge facing the country was that the goal of the security under Zanu PF government was to perpetuate their rule against domestic resistance.

"Zanu PF pursued this goal through extensive use of military and police force and in many situations regarding ill-trained and ill-disciplined members of the force by promoting them for making political statements that seek to undermine the freedom of political choice," it said.

"Society is highly militarised as the defence force has been drawn into all spheres of life."

On the civil military relations, MDC-T said an Act of Parliament "shall provide for the establishment, organisation, training, conditions of service and other matters concerning the permanent force and part time reserve".

POLICE TO BE PROMOTED ON MERIT -- MDC T

Police promotions, the document said, would be based on merit "because it is critical for the restoration of the Zimbabwe Police Services as an apolitical and professional organisation".

A commissioner general of the police would report to the Police Service Commission and the minister of Home Affairs, MDC-T said.

Currently the commissioner general reports to President Robert Mugabe. The Police Service Commission, according to the MDC-T policy document, would be appointed by the President with approval from Parliament and would report to Parliament on its activities at least once a year.

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