Zimbabwe’s dreaded secret service, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is ratcheting up efforts to monitor the activities of foreign diplomats and NGOs, following alleged concerns by backers of Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, that a significant number of agents from abroad are being deployed to aid the opposition wrestle power from President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF ahead of the 2018 explosive elections, investigations and briefings with home and foreign affairs officials this week suggest, The Telescope News has reported.
According to their informants, VP Mnangagwa’s top allies within the country’s security services, have rang the alarm bells on alleged foreign spies pouring into the country, and said to be on a mission to help former vice president, Joice Mujuru, and ex-premiere Morgan Tsvangirai, with covert political strategy to either force an early election, or pile up pressure for Zimbabweans to stage mass revolt against the ruling party.
The disclosures come at a time, when unconfirmed reports say Zanu PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, could soon be appointed as intelligence minister, to replace Didymus Mutasa, who has been fired from the party and government.
Kasukuwere’s brief if to be appointed, it is said is to among other things, restructure the intelligence agency itself, and wipe out elements suspected of closet allegiance to Mujuru or sympathetic to Tsvangirai, as the latter continues to receive information tips from some irate officials at the organisation.
Kasukuwere has become a strong ally of VP Mnangagwa in recent times, using his proximity to ruling party power, as it’s national commissar to gunner support for Mnangagwa and all but endorsing him as the most deserved, to succeed President Robert Mugabe, who is said to be preparing for the exit door in 2016.
If the elevation is to happen, the minister will take over as the new minister of state for presidential affairs.
“The secret service is the nexus of power in any country,” said a senior officer at foreign affairs.
“It has come to light that since Tsvangirai and Mujuru, no longer have access to instruments of the State, their handlers are assigning operatives to enter our country under the pretext of NGOs or humanitarian work to bolster fortunes for the two to remove Zanu PF and the President from power.”
The officer said, counter measures had already been taken and that some NGOs will be shut down, as has happened in Russia.
“We might see amendment of legislation governing the operations of NGOs, like what Putin (Russian President) did last month. This will enable government with the powers to shut down some of these organisations and cancelling visas of those caught in the act.”
VP Mnangagwa, recently told parliamentarians to be wary of diplomats and their embassy officials, as some of them are undercover agents.
“I would also like to say, in any embassy in this country, we have the ambassador and the other staff in there, but among the other staff you have the intelligence service in the embassy who should go about in the countryside or among you to recruit you for other purposes.
All embassies have various missions which are trade relations, political relations and security relations. So keep this in mind that these things are there. We stay, sit, eat and play with them, but they have missions to accomplish,” Mnangagwa, a one time intelligence boss himself, said.
The same sentiments were echoed, about a year ago by provincial affairs minister for Matebeleland South, Abedinico Ncube, who threatened to expel humanitarian organisations that “teach or talk politics” in his area.
“NGOs, your mandate is to provide food assistance to the people, politics is none of your business, leave that to us. If you deviate from your core business, the law provides that we chuck you out,” Ncube said.
“It is not your mandate to teach or talk politics, don’t take advantage of our hungry people and if we hear you are meddling you will go home.”
State media reports today celebrated the “exposure” of Mujuru, based on disclosures that US Senator, Christopher Smith, had made a tacit admission to the US House of Representatives, that Washington was reportedly working with her to force Mugabe out.