The opposition Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) has come under fire for allowing defence minister Sidney Sekeramayi to rush a bill through the senate to legalize the shadowy Robert Mugabe school of intelligence in Mazowe, which has been operating clandestinely for over a decade.
The Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill, which seeks to upgrade the spy school into a university, was fast-tracked through the second and third readings in the senate recently amid token resistance from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T).
The blatant collusion by the MDC-T and Zanu PF to ensure the bill was passed has riled pro-democracy activists.
Currently operating as the National Defence College, the institution funded by China to the tune of $100 million is now the epicentre of a major information gathering operation targeting opposition politicians, journalists, business people, lawyers, diplomats and other regime targets.
The MDC-T’s failure to block the legislation has exposed the pro-democracy movement in Zimbabwe to close monitoring through hacking of emails and phone bugging after the Chinese installed a $5 million supercomputer for espionage purposes.
Sekeramayi said Zimbabwe needed a defence university to counter what he claimed were threats from the United States and European Union, which have imposed targeted sanctions on regime figures accused of election rigging and human rights violations that include political murder.
“Over the last decade, Zimbabwe has been threatened by the European Union and the United States of America’s illegal economic sanctions and political interference, that in turn have necessitated the establishment of an institution with the capacity to analyse national problems and develop a capable human capital base of experts, leaders and professionals as well as innovate and develop newer technologies that protect Zimbabwe, its people and interests,” Sekeramayi said while promoting the bill in the senate just a week after it sailed through the National Assembly.
A few MDC-T senators demanded more information about the bill but still voted in favour of it, a move seen as defeating the whole purpose of criticising it.
“This is a very good idea,” said Morgan Komichi, the MDC-T vice chairman.
MDC-T treasurer-general Theresa Makone was also full of praise of the spy school.
“I rise in full support of this Bill,” Makone said.
No public hearings were held over the bill, in violation of the constitution. Senate president Edna Madzongwe said no one had filed any comments after the bill was posted on the parliament website.
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