|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Enough is Enough
We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!
03 December 2004
The 2005 Budget presented to Parliament last week by the acting Finance Minister reveals a huge allocation of the country’s scarce resources to the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), Zimbabwe’s dreaded secret service agency. A massive Z$ 395,8 billion is allocated to this notorious force under the special services allocation which falls directly under the President’s office and is not subject to any parliamentary scrutiny.
The massive surge in expenditure by the CIO takes it to more than six times the Z$ 62 billion voted for it in 2004 – an allocation which was exceeded by over 60 per cent in any event without recourse to parliament for approval.
A separate equipment procurement account for special services is also set to increase from Z$ 10 billion in 2004 to Z$ 61,3 billion for 2005. No information has been given to parliament or the country on the sort of equipment the spy agency is acquiring.
When the budgeted expenditure for the CIO for 2005 is added to the amount allocated to Defence (Z$ 2,3 trillion), it exceeds the entire budget for health which is given as Z$ 2,7 trillion. This is all the more strange in a country which has not been at war for 25 years, which enjoys the most cordial relations with all its neighbours, and faces no prospect of any hostilities. The health sector by contrast is seriously under-funded and in a state of near collapse.
The decision to swell the coffers of the CIO comes only a few months before Zimbabwe holds crucial parliamentary elections. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a number of both local and international human rights organizations of the highest repute, have repeatedly accused the Mugabe regime of using the notorious spy service to crush ruthlessly any voices of dissent in the country.
The much-feared CIO stands accused of systematically master-minding the harassment and torture of opposition MDC supporters in the run up to the elections.
(Acknowledgments to Zimonline)