Mugabe gives in on CIO and repressive laws

HARARE – Zanu PF has agreed to consider the review of the operations of the State espionage agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), and the need to amend the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), it has emerged.

This is contained in a confidential report of the workshop held in Cape Town, South Africa, between Global Political Agreement (GPA) negotiators and the South African facilitation team, whose minutes were agreed on and signed in Harare last week.

The minutes will be handed over to Sadc leaders by South African President Jacob Zuma when regional leaders meet to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis this weekend.

As part of the election roadmap, MDC-T had proposed that an Act of Parliament regulating the operations of the CIO be formulated. MDC-N supported the proposal saying it was an election issue and was covered under Article XIII of the GPA which reads: “State organs and institutions do not belong to any party and should be impartial in their duties.”

Zanu PF however argued that the issue had nothing to do with the GPA or elections but was an attack on the organisation. However, the former liberation movement now appears to have climbed down.

“Serious dispute arose at the workshop regarding the CIO. The MDC formations claim that the CIO, which is administered through the Office of the President, is not covered by any legislative framework,” read the minutes signed by all negotiators and the facilitation team.

“Zanu PF indicated that there were two traditions relating to this matter. The one as advocated by the two MDC formations is for regulation under an Act of Parliament and the second is to constitute the Intelligence Services, as is the current position in Zimbabwe, under Administrative Action.

“Zanu PF believes that this tradition is from the British Convention. Zanu PF negotiators indicated that they are not fully acquainted with the merits and demerits of either tradition and would want to consult further on the matter.”

The minutes also indicated that the parties had resolved to meet and consider the proposals from the MDC formations on Posa.MDC formations want Posa to be amended and tightened so that it is not abused.

The proposals, according to the roadmap, are meant to bring the Act in line with commitments within the GPA and also ensure that it is not abused by the police. – NewsDay