Opinion & Analysis Piece by Alex Magaisa
Deployment Of Defences Forces In Mozambique
1. I understand ZImbabwean troops have been deployed in Northern Mozambique to assist the host government in its defence against insurgents. This thread outlines the law concerning deployment of armed forces as provided for in the Constitution.
2. The President, in his capacity as Commander in Chief has the power to deploy armed forces outside the country “to defend the territorial integrity of a foreign country” or “in defence of Zimbabwe’s national security or national interests” (section 213(3).
3. However, the President is required to inform Parliament “promptly and in appropriate detail the reasons for their deployment” and “the country they are deployed”. The question therefore is whether Parliament has been informed. #COVID19 complicates issues but it can be done.
4. Parliament has the power to cause a rescission of the deployment (section 213(4) & (5). In lay terms this means Parliament can stop/reverse the foreign deployment. But this requires special majority vote (two thirds of the total membership of Parliament).
5. This legal power is however theoretical at best in the current political dynamics. With a two-thirds majority, ZANU PF is in full control of Parliament & its members are unlikely to question their boss.
6. The main question is practical & economic: the country is broke & it’s reeling on account of the #COVID19 pandemic. It can’t even provide for citizens. How is the war funded and by whom? These are the practical questions which must seize our political & civic representatives.