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National Security Bill inadequate: Veritas  – Zimbabwe Situation

Source: National Security Bill inadequate: Veritas – NewsDay Zimbabwe

LEGAL think-tank Veritas has poked holes into the proposed National Security Council Bill, saying it does not bring the security sector under civilian control.

The Bill seeks to fill gaps left by the Constitution — by specifying additional members and functions of the council — and generally to operationalise the National Security Council.

In its latest online Bill Watch publication, Veritas said the provisions of the Bill failed to provide Parliament with a role in formulating national security policies or in overseeing how the policies are carried out.

The Bill was presented in the National Assembly on July 28 and currently awaits its Second Reading Stage.

“It is not aligned with the thrust of the original Zimbabwe National Security Council Act (ZNSCA), namely to bring the security services under civilian control,” Veritas said.

In 2009 during the government of national unity (GNU), ZNSCA was formed, but expired after the GNU.

Veritas said the Bill suggested that the President would appoint an additional minister to the council, which would include ministers of intelligence, defence, police, prisons, finance and that the President would have to seek consent of those ministers before making appointments.

“Rather oddly, no such consultation will be needed to remove the additional ministers from the council, so they will hold office at the pleasure of the President,” Veritas said.

“The Bill does not go far enough because it skirts over the question of how decisions will be reached at council meetings. Will the military and security officers be able to outvote the civilians or will the President and his ministers have the final say? Secondly, it gives Parliament no role in formulating national security policies or in overseeing how the policies are carried out.”

Veritas further argues that the Bill, which is nine years overdue since the 2013 Constitution should be passed by Parliament without due delay and that the defects and omissions must be addressed during its passage.

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