Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe is ready to protect its territorial integrity from any foreign aggression or insurgency, but will not interfere with security systems of other countries, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi told parliamentarians yesterday.
Dr Sekeramayi was fielding questions from legislators during a Questions without Notice Session in the National Assembly where some legislators alleged that Mozambican rebel movement, Renamo, was recruiting some Zimbabwean youths particularly along the country’s borders.
Zanu-PF MPs, Cdes Hubert Nyanhongo (Nyanga North) and Joseph Chinotimba (Buhera South), asked what Government was doing to ensure the country was not affected by the Renamo insurgency in Mozambique.
Cde Chinotimba said it was important for the Government to protect its interests such as the Beira-Feruka oil pipeline.
“Renamo is in Mozambique and whatever insurgency they are doing is in Mozambique so the Mozambican government is the first to sort that problem,” said Minister Sekeramayi.
“If there is a problem, they tell us. But if our people start being affected by the insurgency, we will not fold our arms but we will take action.”
But Cde Nyanhongo said there were indications that Renamo was recruiting some Zimbabwean youths along the country’s borders.
“If the Honourable Member has evidence of the place and time of that recruitment, he should inform us so that we organise how to protect Zimbabwe,” said Minister Sekeramayi.
Meanwhile, Home Affairs Deputy Minister, Obedingwa Mguni, said the mandate of the police was to ensure the country maintained peace and tranquillity, as such they were expected to regulate gatherings.
He was responding to a question from MDC-T chief whip, Mr Innocent Gonese (Mutare Central) on whether the police were well acquainted with the provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) in handling public gatherings by civic organisations.
Mr Gonese said the police misrepresented notification for application, which is why they have on some occasions claimed to have denied gatherings.
His submissions were in apparent reference to the police saying they had not approved the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association’s meeting.
“The police are there to maintain peace and tranquillity so they must make sure that if there is a gathering of more than 25 people they should be aware,” he said.
Deputy Minister Mguni said he would establish if the police had the right to stop meetings.
Acting Leader of Government business in Parliament and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, also said Government did not expect the disturbances that characterised the initial meeting of war veterans that was aborted on February 18, 2016 because they had not informed relevant authorities while the police had not cleared it. Police had to use teargas and water cannons to disperse war veterans who had gathered at the City Sports Centre in Harare.
Minister Chinamasa was responding to MDC-T MP for Kuwadzana East, Mr Nelson Chamisa, who sought to know Government’s position on the use of teargas and water cannons on the war veterans.
“That issue was addressed squarely by His Excellency, the President and he correctly apologised to the war veterans for what happened. In the course of his explanation, he apportioned blame as to what had happened. It is very regrettable what happened and I hope that in future things of that nature will not occur,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Mr Chamisa further asked if the formation of former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First party was not as a result of similar treatment to that of war veterans.
But Minister Chinamasa responded: “I think he (Mr Chamisa) must begin writing an obituary of his party because the people who were assembled are disgruntled MDC people. Yes, I admit what we saw yesterday is a grafting of former Zanu-PF leadership being grafted to MDC followers. That is what we saw yesterday. So the obituary should be on their side. They no longer have followers.”