CIO chief rallies agency behind new government: sources

HARARE – The director general of Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) director-general Happyton Bonyongwe on Thursday said the spy-agency must transform into a professional outfit and work for the success of the inclusive government formed last week, sources.

Bonyongwe is one of President Robert Mugabe’s service chiefs who vowed before last year’s general elections that they would never salute Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai if he wins the presidential elections.

The service chiefs, among them, defence forces commander Constantine Chiwenga, prisons commissioner Paradzai Zimondi and police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri snubbed the swearing in of Tsvangirai as Prime Minister in the inclusive government last week.

Sources in the CIO said Bonyongwe told senior operatives from around the country who met at the headquarters of Mugabe’s ZANU PF party in Harare that the unity government was now a reality and they should embrace it.

The secret service meeting was to appraise senior spies on the "state of affairs" in the new government and review operations of the CIO.

"Bonyongwe said the CIO should work for the success of the inclusive government," a senior member of the organisation who attended the closed-door meeting said. "He emphasised the need to transform the organisation into a professional force whose work is about enhancing national security rather than fighting opposition parties."

According to sources, Bonyongwe said he had been assured by Mugabe that the inclusive government would not embark on a witch hunt to flash out operatives who were involved in political violence against the opposition during last year’s bloody presidential election run-off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

CIO operatives, police, army, war veterans and ZANU PF militia embarked on a violent campaign during the run-off that resulted in the death of about 200 MDC supporters, plus 10 000 injured and displacement of over 25 000 families.

The violence prompted Tsvangirai to withdrew from the race, but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission went ahead with the run-off saying the MDC leader’s pull out had no legal effect.

Mugabe won the one-man race by over 80 percent, but nevertheless he was forced by regional SADC alliance and the African Union to open talks with Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutamabara, who heads the smaller formation of the MDC, to form a government of national unity.

"Bonyongwe also told us that our working conditions would be improved tremendously and challenged everyone to pull in one direction for the success of the new government," the source added.

The CIO boss, the sources said, told them elections would be held within the five years and the state spies should support whoever will emerge the winner. – ZimOnline.