Opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa wants President Emmerson Mnangagwa to rescind his decision to appoint Zanu PF Gokwe-Kana MP Owen Ncube as Minister of State for National Security.

In a statement, the MDC leader argued that Ncube, known as “Mudha” in political circles, was a vigilante group leader who should be nowhere near the country’s security services sector.

According to the opposition party, the absence of a law operationalising the use of the intelligence services in Zimbabwe is a cause for great angst.

“Only the Central Intelligence office has no Act of Parliament guiding their operations. Excitable individuals can manipulate the loose arrangement. This is worsened by the recent appointment of Owen ‘Mudha’ Ncube as the head of the ministry responsible for the intelligence services. The appointment is a manifestation of a failure, reluctance and disinterest of a total break from the past by the current government,” the statement said.

“In this day and age, the authorities cannot be rewarding individuals who must be holed in solitary confinement under the roof of a supermax facility through executive appointments. Put differently, the atrocities committed by this shady individual only warrant imprisonment in the State’s biggest penitentiary, Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. Mnangagwa in his wisdom or lack thereof decided to elevate a mobster and formalise a vigilante by making him one of the most powerful occupants of the State.”

As State Security minister, Ncube is in charge of the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation.

However, Media, Information and Broadcasting services deputy minister Energy Mutodi leapt to Ncube’s defence.

“The President has appointed the right men and women to specific Cabinet tasks that he chose. The choices that he made are in tandem with the work that needs to be done at present and in future,” Mutodi said.

“Giving anyone appointed by the President a stereotypically pejorative image like ‘dark past’ is mischievous of the opposition. The opposition must not think they are angels in this country. Each and every one of them has a past that no one has dared to look into.”

The MDC claimed Ncube has in the past been involved in a number of public brawls, which makes him unfit for public office.

“We also make the point that security services must be used to protect the territorial integrity of the land and maintain law and order. The appointment of Mudha is a clear personalisation of the intelligence services to serve a narrow personal agenda of power retention through repression, torture of civilians, abductions and forced disappearances,” Chamisa’s party argued.

Mnangagwa has also been urged to establish an independent complaints mechanism against members of the security services as provided for in Section 210 of the Constitution.

To this, Mutodi said the Constitution provide for the establishment of the Intelligence Service: “Any amendment to the configuration, roles and function of the Intelligence Service needs to pass through a parliamentary process that the opposition MPs are fully aware of. If any lawmaker thinks there is need for any adjustments, we are a democratic country and let them introduce that in Parliament, not in newspapers.”

Ncube was not immediately available for comment as his mobile was unreachable.

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