President Emmerson Mnanagagwa’s government is purging senior Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives suspected of having links with former president Robert Mugabe as the Zanu PF leader continues to consolidate his power, it has been revealed.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe in November last year following a military coup and after winning the controversial July 30 elections, the former State Security minister has been positioning his loyalists in strategic positions.
According to sources, State Security minister Owen Ncube, a key ally of the president from his home town of Kwekwe, has been since his appointment in September working quietly to assert his authority over the CIO.
The purge targeting suspected Mugabe loyalists has seen a number of directors in the CIO losing their jobs in recent weeks. Others were transferred from their stations to different provinces, a government official revealed.
“The minister has effected transfers in nearly all provinces. In Kwekwe the top six were all transferred with some going to Hwange while others were sent to Masvingo,” the source said.
“Many others have received letters from the minister assigning them to new posts.”
The insiders said some of the directors who had spent over 10 years at one station were accused of creating “fiefdoms” and dabbling in politics.
“There were many operatives that were using the office of the president to demand money from farmers, foreign owned companies and mines,” the source added.
“Those with such connections had become more powerful than political structures and had vowed not to leave their stations but Ncube is changing all that.”
Ncube has also tightened security around Mnangagwa and changed security details assigned to the first family.
Ncube was handed the powerful ministry at a time the CIO was viewed as hostile to Mnangagwa’s administration.
A CIO insider said the shake-up was good for the spy organisation as they had been side-lined following the November 2017 coup.
“We had been weakened because most of the security arrangements were now being handled by the military and we were now like a backup organisation playing second fiddle to the military and even reporting to them,” the source said.
“He is hands-on and does not fear making changes or moving officers.”
Ncube and CIO director general, Isaac Moyo could not be reached for comment yesterday.
After the coup, Mugabe said the military was hostile against the CIO because soldiers were not happy that spies were paid higher salaries.