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New CIO boss 98% disabled

Newly appointed deputy director-general of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Aaron Daniel Tonde Nhepera, received Z$650 901 from the War Victims Compensation Fund in 1997 after claiming to have suffered a shocking 98% disability from war injuries.

Nhepera, who replaced the late Maynard Livingstone Muzariri, received the money from five different claims he made. Announcing his appointment in state media recently, Minister of State for National Security Sydney Sekeramayi said Nhepera’s elevation was in line with his loyalty and dedication to duty.

Minister of State for National Security Sydney Sekeramayi
Minister of State for National Security Sydney Sekeramayi

Nhepera, who joined the liberation struggle in 1974 and one of the longest serving members of the CIO, claimed to have suffered from persistent headaches, ear and stomach aches due to poisoning, as well as hallucinations, a congested throat and an occasional cough.

Despite these ailments, Nhepera told the Chidyausiku Commission that his 98% “disability” did not hinder him from performing his duties efficiently and effectively. “The degree of injuries does not affect my duties. I struggle, but I am now accustomed to it. In fact, I don’t pay any attention to it,” he told the commission.

Nhepera told the commission that he joined the liberation struggle in 1974 as a 16-year old and had since then suffered from mental and physical stress, as well as poor health because of a poor diet. He also said he had to resign from the Fifth Brigade due to ill-health.

Nhepera told the commission that he had made five separate claims to allow other ex-combatants a chance to claim their compensation.

“The first claim was not accepted because I was told the poisoning case could not be sustained. The doctor awarded me a zero percent. The second claim was for the ear. Even if I had been awarded 100% disability, it would not have been enough because my injuries were too numerous,” he told the commission.

Nhepera said the late war veterans’ leader Chenjerai Hunzvi had told him that if he made all the claims at once, they would have been difficult to sustain.

He said Hunzvi had conducted examinations on him without carrying out mandatory tests or recommending any further tests or treatment. Nhepera is one of several of President Robert Mugabe’s loyalists who received compensation for extreme disability claims after the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association went on massive protests, including an unprecedented march on State House.

An unbudgeted Z$50 000, plus a Z$2 000 monthly pension was awarded to about 50 000 liberation “war veterans” triggering an economic meltdown. Hunzvi signed medical certificates for a number of senior Zanu PF officials showing serious and previously unimagined disabilities entitling them to massive compensation.

Hunzvi himself claimed 117 % disability but was only awarded 85%. Vice-President Joice Mujuru claimed to be 55% disabled. Other notable people who received compensation after claiming high disability levels include Oppah Muchinguri (65%), former ZBC manager Robin Shava (100%) and Vivian Mwashita (94%).

First lady Grace Mugabe’s deceased brother Reward Marufu claimed 95% disability. Sekeremayi and Nhepera could not be reached for comment yesterday. The Zimbabwe Independent