Zimbabwe spy agency thrown into turmoil
By Never Kadungure in Harare
Zimbabwe’s dreaded and notorious spy agency the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) was thrown into turmoil Thursday evening after a London based independent radio station published details of some 480 plus state security agents, many behind acts of torture, murder and abductions.
Described as the “Internal Directory of the President’s Office” SW Radio Africa published a 2001 list with the names, home addresses, national ID and employer numbers of some 480 ‘operatives’ and ‘deputy intelligence officers’. It showed which agents were deployed in the various provinces and districts and the office buildings they used for their ‘work’, including room and telephone numbers.
Marathon meetings were being held throughout the weekend as senior CIO officials plotted a response to the most serious breach of the organisation’s secrecy in its entire history. Several posh cars including 4×4 all-terrain vehicles were seen parked outside the CIO Chaminuka Buildings HQ in Harare.
Despite the list being leaked on Thursday, Mugabe’s regime and even the state security agency itself was struggling to come up with a response. By Sunday afternoon, no statement denying the authenticity of the list had been issued. Making their response even hard is the fact that SW Radio Africa is serializing publication of the list over 6 weeks.
So confident is the station of its list they are even detailing what agents on the list have done. One of the agents on the first list Hamad Adam is deployed at the Zimbabwean embassy in Germany as a ‘political councillor.’ Adam has been in Germany for over 5 years now and is due to finish his ‘stint’ next month. The Director General, Happton Bonyongwe, is number 8 on the list.
At number 69 is Simon Chisorochengwe, listed as a Deputy Intelligence Officer. SW Radio Africa says he shot to prominence via his well-publicized attempts to destroy the Zimbabwe Liberators’ Platform (ZLP); a rival war vets association which is independent of ZANU PF interference and manipulation.
At number 56 was Edward Chinoza, another ‘Deputy Intelligence Officer’. Investigations revealed that Chinoza is working in the newly autonomous country of South Sudan as the Consul General.
At number 34 was a notorious state security agent known as Maxwell Chidzamba (spelt Chidzambwa in some reports). In January 2008 he allegedly took part in the attempted murder of prominent MDC-T activist Shepherd Maisiri, a poor farmer in the Inyati Resettlement area.
“Chidzamba and his gang of seven, on the orders of then State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, bundled Maisiri into a jute bag, then into a truck and dumped him in the Rusape Dam. He was only saved by fishermen laying their nets that night. People in the area usually refer to Chidzamba as a war vet, but on the list he is a CIO operative,” SW Radio Africa reported.
The journalist who broke the story, Lance Guma has been subjected to a torrent of abuse and threats to his life by unknown people commenting on the New Zimbabwe.com forums. Ironically the editor of that website Mduduzi Mathuthu claimed political asylum in the UK several years ago having fled persecution by Mugabe’s regime. He was criticised for not filtering the threatening messages.
Contacted for comment, Guma refused to comment saying the statement issued by the SW Radio Africa Station Manager Gerry Jackson was an adequate explanation. In the statement Jackson said;
“The Central Intelligence Organisation is not used to protect national security and to safeguard Zimbabweans. Along with the military and the police it is used by Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF to hold on to power, using brute force and intimidation. Experts say the CIO is the most powerful arm of ZANU PF’s security apparatus, the ‘brains behind the regime.”
“The CIO is also administered directly through the Office of the President, and is not covered by any legislative framework. It is not an innocent organisation and many deaths can be laid at its door.
“So we are serialising the release of this document in the interests of transparency and accountability and in the hope that by exposing these names, some of the daily fear Zimbabweans live under will be taken away. We also hope that it might make some of the perpetrators of violence think twice before they commit further human rights abuses.
“In today’s media world it is much more difficult to stay hidden in the shadows. We welcome feedback, corrections, responses from our listeners and take to heart concerns that have been expressed about publishing the home addresses of these CIO. These addresses have now been removed,” Jackson said.