Zanu (PF) plot to arrest Biti under Official Secrets Act
HARARE – Zanu PF hard-liners are pushing for the arrest of Finance Minister and other MDC-T senior leaders for accusations of the breach of the Official Secrets Act by allegedly leaking cabinet files in the public domain.
Zanu PF loyalists says this can see the responsible authorities filing a lawsuit.
The said upon appointment to the inclusive government, all ministers took an oath of office in which they swore not to divulge certain state information under the Official Secrets Act.
They say Finance Minister Tendai Biti was quoted by the private media divulging cabinet files.
They also said the weekly Zimbabwe Independent of March 01-07 quoted Biti saying “a tension-filled cabinet session on Tuesday condemned the boy’s traumatic death. We told Didymus Mutasa that he is behind the murder of this boy. If he thought we are hiding under the privilege of cabinet, we are now saying it in public.
Mutasa you killed this boy. If you think we are lying take us to court for defamation,” Biti charged.
They said private media was also awash with the statement by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who, at the burial of Christpower Maisiri, raised issues discussed in the same cabinet.
Harare lawyers and Zanu PF Mr Jonathan Samukange, and Mr Tazvitya Mapfumo have expressed what they said concerned them over what they described as not only a serious breach of the Official Secrets Act by the Finance Minister, but an indication of a dysfunctional government.
“The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet can launch a complaint over such behaviour by such ministers. It’s a criminal offence to divulge cabinet files… that’s what we call lack of democracy,” said Samukange.
“This is a blatant breach of the Official Secrets Act, how can a minister who has taken an oath say that? The consequences can be so serious as it is serious crime,” Mapfumo said.
Minister Biti’s phone was unreachable.
Section 4 of the Official Secrets Act, stipulates that “any person who communicates information to any person, other than the person to whom he is authorized to communicate it or any person to whom it is in the interest of Zimbabwe his duty to communicate, uses such information in any manner or for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interest of Zimbabwe, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 14 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 20 years or to both fine and such
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