SW Radio Africa statement on release of CIO names and details

The Central Intelligence Organisation is not used to protect national security and to safeguard Zimbabweans. Along with the military and the police it is used by Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF to hold on to power, using brute force and intimidation. Experts say the CIO is the most powerful arm of ZANU PF’s security apparatus, the ‘brains behind the regime.’

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According to the Council on Foreign Relations: ‘There is no public record of the CIO’s size, but it is thought to have thousands of operatives. Many Zimbabweans think the organization has a network of informers that extends into the Zimbabwean diaspora.

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The 2007 Human Rights Watch report, Bashing Dissent, says: ‘In contrast to government claims that primary responsibility for the recent violence lies with the political opposition, Human Rights Watch found that Zimbabwe’s police forces, agents of the Central Intelligence Organization and groups of “youth militia” are the main perpetrators of serious human rights abuses.’

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The report goes on to say that the security forces fail to abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms and The beating of the activists in police custody also breached several international and regional human rights laws.

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It talks about the attack on the then MDC spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, who in an interview from his hospital bed stated that he believed that the men behind the attack were CIO agents because the attack occurred in full view of the police at the airport who failed to react.

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Civil society activists and opposition supporters allege that CIO agents and “youth militia” are often present at police stations around the country and are routinely involved in the beatings of activists in custody.

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The CIO is also administered directly through the Office of the President, and is not covered by any legislative framework.

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It is not an innocent organisation and many deaths can be laid at its door.

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So we are serialising the release of this document in the interests of transparency and accountability and in the hope that by exposing these names, some of the daily fear Zimbabweans live under will be taken away. We also hope that it might make some of the perpetrators of violence think twice before they commit further human rights abuses.

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In todays media world it is much more difficult to stay hidden in the shadows.

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We welcome feedback, corrections, responses from our listeners and take to heart concerns that have been expressed about publishing the home addresses of these CIO. These addresses have now been removed.