Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

CIO leaks illustrate need for security reforms

By Makusha Mugabe

The leaked list of Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives is proving that the CIO is nothing but an organisation of hired killers at the service of Robert Mugabe’s political party, Zanu (PF), and therefore seriously in need of reform – not just regulation as is being mooted under a Bill proposed by the MDC.

The Global Political Agreement (GPA) is supposed to be about moving away from dictatorship to democracy and accountability under a system which respects human rights and the rule of law, within the charters of SADC, African Union and the United Nations.

Makusha Mugabe is the editor of the Change Zimbabwe.com website
Makusha Mugabe is the editor of the Change Zimbabwe.com website

The promulgation of a Bill to regulate the CIO should therefore be an opportunity to reform the organisation from being one that is used to protect one political party through illegal means, to one that is used to protect the country against external threats and threats to the nation’s security. Time for CIO (State Security) Minister Sidney Sekeramayi to go and take another oath of office before Parliament.

It should be made clear that political parties that are formed by Zimbabweans, that are manned and funded by Zimbabweans, are not a national security threat in any way, and in fact contribute to national security by increasing democracy, and therefore should be protected by the CIO.

Making the CIO subject to Parliamentary scrutiny would go a long way towards making the organisation and its employees accountable to the country, rather than the whims of the incumbent President, his family and his clan.

SW Radio Africa’s serialisation of the release of the names of operatives, agents and officers of the CIO is also showing that many of the people deployed to Embassies as ‘political attaches’ are actually former CIO agents – raising questions about what political representation they are providing at those embassies.

What could they possibly discuss and share ideas with the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats, about the political economy of Zimbabwe when all that they know is that they must arrest, torture and kill anyone who opposes their political party, Zanu (PF). No wonder Zimbabwe is not understood!

Have they got any understanding of the political economy of Zimbabwe, and have they stopped being CIO agents, or are continuing their work disguised as political attaches in violation of the laws of the countries they are operating in.

Farai Machekanyanga’s name first surfaced in the seemingly deranged rantings of a Marondera Zanu (PF) official known as Chikanya who confessed to the assassination of MDC-T District Chairman Bakayimana and youth organizer Kainos in 2008.

Chikanya confessed that she and Machekanyanga tortured the MDC officials at Hurudza House (CIO offices) while trying to use them as bait to lure Ian Kay (MDC MP) and Farai Nyandoro, now the Mayor of Marondera, to their killing grounds.

When it failed, they killed the two and dumped their corpses in Wenimbe dam, according to this unconfirmed report which was published in February last year.  Just last week the disaffected ZANU PF MP Tracy Mutinhiri accused CIO agents and the Zanu (PF) Minister Sidney Sekeramayi 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.”

Now the story has been corroborated. Machekanyanga was then just a name, now the name has been matched with an existing agent – what is now left is to find out where he is and whether he can be linked with the double murder, and prosecuted.

Another alleged killer on the list is Robert Manungo, who allegedly commissioned the failed assassination of former Daily News editor Geoffrey Nyarota. Manungo was then the Deputy Director of the CIO’s Harare province.

He has apparently now been promoted to Assistant Director (Internal), which means the director and deputy director of the internal branch or department of the CIO are both killers.

The director is Elias Kanengoni, who shot the then opposition candidate Patrick Kombayi in the 1990 election, was convicted by the courts, and was pardoned by President Mugabe – suggesting that shooting Kombayi was done in the line of CIO duty – the duty being to ensure that Vice-President Simon Muzenda did not lose his Parliamentary seat to Kombayi.

Nothing illustrates the need for the CIO regulatory Bill, as part of over-all security sector reform, than this case which is well documented. This is the violent history of Zimbabwe that Zanu (PF) is refusing to acknowledge, and it is this refusal to deal with that past which threatens to keep Zimbabwe in a state of perpetual insecurity.

Another “Senior Intelligence Agent’ is Denford Masiya who was in 2006 jointly charged with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and five others over political violence in Makoni North constituency, but the trial collapsed because of intimidation directed at the magistrate – CIO work.

This was internal Zanu (PF) violence with Chinamasa pitted against Didymus Mutasa, which illustrates another flaw in Zanu (PF) politics and shows how Zimbabwe would never have peace if this was not uprooted through security sector reform, which would ensure that security forces deal with such situations without fear or favour.

Another is Sign Chabvonga who was in 2004 deployed as a ‘Features Editor’ at the Mirror which had been clandestinely bought by the CIO, again in an attempt to control the media to shore up Zanu (PF) which was losing the media battle.

The fact that before Chabvonga was deployed to the Mirror newsroom he had worked as a ‘political attaché’ at the Zimbabwean Embassy in Washington suggests that he was probably an agent through-out the period – an agent whose job was to protect Zanu (PF), or worse to protect a faction of Zanu (PF), or worse to protect the interests of Robert Mugabe.

State Security Minister, Sidney Sekeramayi, who is in charge of the CIO has also, through Mutinhiri, been linked to deploying ex-combatants to Mutinhiri’s farm, just because she accompanied her Minister and the Prime Minister to projects that benefit Zimbabweans.

What was she supposed to do? Refuse to support projects just because the Prime Minister who is MDC is involved, yet they are in a coalition government?

The Minister must also be hauled before Parliament to explain this and be forced to take another pledge to serve Zimbabwe, or whatever it is that he said when he was sworn in as a Minister of the Zimbabwean Government.

Makusha Mugabe is the editor of the Change Zimbabwe.com website. He can be reached on [email protected]