By Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa continues with Part 3 of the list of Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) agents working in and outside Zimbabwe. The document is dated 2001 and is a list of ‘operatives’ working at that time. Some agents may have retired or passed away, many are still serving. The serialization of the 480+ names is being done alphabetically over six weeks. Although the document also contains their home addresses, these details have been removed.
At number 172 is Deputy Intelligence Officer Farai Machekanyanga. Last year a ZANU PF official known as Chikanya, from Cherutombo suburb in Marondera, stunned the community after she began confessing how she and a gang, which included Machekanyanga, assassinated suspected MDC-T supporters and dumped their dead bodies in shallow graves and dams.
Chikanya, dressed in ZANU PF regalia, had gone to her party offices and told them she wanted to confess her crimes because she was experiencing hardships. But party officials paid no attention and she went straight to the town bus terminus. Once there she gathered a crowd and narrated names of her accomplices, including Machekanyanga, and how they killed MDC-T activists in the run up to the June 2008 election.
ZANU PF officials dispatched a truck to pick her up but she refused to be driven away. According to her testimony Machekanyanga also took part in the abduction of MDC-T District Chairman Bakayimana and youth organizer Kainos, on 22nd May 2008. Chikanya said: “We tortured them at Hurudza House (CIO offices) for weeks, before taking them to various secret locations. We wanted to use them as bait to lure Ian Kay (MP) and Farai Nyandoro (Mayor) to our killing grounds.”
Chakanya went further to confess: “We even forced the captives to make distress phone calls for help from Kay and Nyandoro. When the plot failed, we had no option but to assassinate them and dump their corpses in Wenimbe dam. This is a ZANU PF tried and tested solution for dealing with betrayers, dating back to the liberation struggle,” she said.
According to one report last year, Chakanya was later also found dead in the Wenimbe dam.
Interestingly, it was only last week that ZANU PF MP Tracy Mutinhiri accused CIO agents of wanting to kill her and dump her body in the Wenimbe dam “like they did to hundreds of innocent suspected MDC supporters in June 2008.” Mutinhiri is currently locked in a bitter feud with State Security Minister Sidney Sekeramayi and others in ZANU PF, who accuse her of being too ‘cosy’ with the MDC-T.
At number 211 is Robert Manungo, a Deputy Intelligence Officer who allegedly ordered the failed assassination of former Daily News editor Geoffrey Nyarota. At the time Manungo was the Deputy Director of the CIO’s Harare province and allegedly paid over US$2,600 to ZANU PF activist Bernard Masara to kill Nyarota. After spending one month watching the Daily News offices Masara developed cold feet and later made a confession after a chance meeting with Nyarota in a lift.
Nyarota recounted the incident saying: “It seems I met him in a lift on the way to my office. I didn’t realise what was happening, but he was tracking my movements. I greeted him, I always greet people, even strangers. I normally say, ‘How are you, how is the family?’ He told me he had been assigned to kill me. At this stage, I didn’t believe him.” To prove his story Masara then telephoned Manungo, while the entire editorial staff of the Daily News listened to the call.
Manungo immediately recognised the assassin and asked, “Has the assignment been accomplished?”
Manungo has since been promoted and it is our information he is now the Assistant Director (Internal). This would mean he is second in command to Elias Kanengoni, who shot then opposition candidate Patrick Kombayi in the 1990 elections and then got a presidential pardon from Mugabe.
Number 229 is Denford Masiya a “Senior Intelligence Agent’ based in Rusape. In 2006 he was jointly charged with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and 5 others over incidents of political violence that rocked Makoni North constituency in August 2004, during campaigning for ZANU PF primary elections. In one incident Masiya and a group of 23 ZANU PF youths ambushed and attacked James Kaunye, who was contesting against Mutasa in the primary poll.
The trial collapsed after magistrates were intimidated and attempts made to bribe the complainants. Charges of attempting to defeat the course of justice, later filed against Mutasa and the group, came to nothing.
More information continues to trickle in on Sign Chabvonga, at number 15 on our list. Readers will remember the ‘MediaGate’ scandal which broke in 2005. It was about the CIO taking over the independent Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror newspapers, starting in 2002, when the state security agency diverted billions of Zimbabwean dollars to take control of the Mirror group and also the weekly Financial Gazette newspaper.
In 2004 the CIO deployed Chabvonga as a ‘Features Editor’ in the Mirror newsroom. The editorial team, then led by Innocent Chofamba Sithole, Stanley Ruzvidzo Mupfudza (late) and Tawanda Majoni, was forced to work under his watchful eye. “He was a quiet fellow and personally pleasant, but it was clear to every reporter that he wasn’t really there to write stories. That will go down as the worst disguised deployment the CIO has ever done,” a reporter told us.
Before Chabvonga’s deployment to the Mirror newsroom he worked as a ‘political attaché’ at the Zimbabwean Embassy in the US capital, Washington, from around 1999.
More information has been received on Bright Kupemba, number 162 on the list published last week. Described as an ‘operative’ we understand he is currently deployed at the Zimbabwean embassy in London. Last year in March Kupemba attended a commonwealth sponsored meeting held in London, that was looking into the needs of journalists based in the Diaspora. SW Radio Africa