A residents’ leader in Guruve, Mashonaland Central province, has accused a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) district head, Emmanuel Dhinga, of threatening him for reporting corrupt land deals involving security agents to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).
Mackaswel Basiyavo, the Combined Guruve Residents and Rate Payers Association chairperson, told Grazers News that Dhinga requested a meeting with him and turned up late e3veining in the company of unidentified colleagues.
The District Intelligence Officer (DIO) allegedly ordered him to drop the ZACC case and threatened him with unspecified action if he did not do so.
The anti-graft body is processing the case—reference number 67/07/2020—that relates to the illegal sale of state land by local authority employees in Guruve.
According to the complaint, other government and state security agents are part of the “cartel”, with Dhinga reportedly coordinating the alleged land grab. .
“He (Dhinga) called me (on 29 March 2021) at 7 pm to meet him at (the Guruve bus station). Next to his official car, a Nissan twin cab, was an unmarked Ford Ranger twin cab with suspicious occupants inside. He demanded to have the list of those accused of corruption in the case and threatened me with unspecified action if I did not drop the case. I have moved my family to a secret house and do not know what will happen to me,” said Basiyavo.
“About 20 commonage stands in the Guruve Airstrip area that were supposed to benefit less privileged people in the community were offered to privileged CIO officers for free. Each stand has an estimated value of US$2 600,” he told Grazers News.
In a separate case, the local CIO operatives and rural district officers used barons to sell the land adjacent to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot in Guruve after subdividing it into 30 residential stands.
“The proceeds of this state land sale did not find their way to the local authority but was shared by members of the cartel,” said Basiyavo.
At a place known as Darex Complex, the residents’ leader added, about 180 more commercial stands were illegally sold through land barons and the CIO operatives got the lion’s share.
The local police did not take action when a complaint was brought before the Guruve office—which could not be reached for a comment—forcing Basiyavo to trek to ZACC.
A named ex-district police commander received two residential stands for free as a “protection fee” and several other law enforcers, among them an investigating officer who got a stand just behind Guruve Hospital, were beneficiaries too, added Basiyavo.
“I personally visited the stands which are now at slab level. The two stands are valued at US$5 200 combined. These are just few examples; the list is long,” said the residents’ leader.
When contacted for a comment, Dhinga, asked for the identity of this reporter and asked how he could help but when he was told of the purpose of the call, the line went dead and was not reachable after that.
He did not respond to text messages sent to him.
The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) said it was also on the case and its director, Obert Chinhamo, urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene since the CIO agents worked in a department that fell directly under him.
“ACT-SA is aware of the threats against the Guruve human rights defender. We are gravely concerned since he is being persecuted for exposing corruption. We all know the deleterious effects of corruption on national development,” said Chinhamo, who also bemoaned the persecution of whistle blowers.
“Whistle blowers are prone to persecution because Zimbabwe has no whistle blower protection legislation,” said Chinhamo.
The ZACC spokesperson, Chamunorwa Murava, said alleged land graft in Guruve was among the cases the commission was handling.
“I am currently out of office so I am unable to check with our investigations team on the specific case for additional details,” he told Grazers News.