via CIO bans mini-skirts – The Zimbabwean 6 May 2015
The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has banned mini-skirts and stylish hairstyles as part of its “reformation” of the spy agency.
Inside sources told The Zimbabwean that President Robert Mugabe had complained about how female officers were dressing, prompting Happyton Bonyongwe, the CIO boss, to take action.
The CIO administrative unit recently dispatched a memo to all departments calling on female employees to discard revealing clothes. The memo read in part: “All female officers are supposed to be decently dressed. Henceforth, officers are expected to desist from wearing mini-skirts.”
“In addition,” continued the memo, “female officers, regardless of rank, must desist from stylishly coloured hair as a way of maintaining decorum in front of dignitaries.”
Already, sources said, the agency has announced measures to rein in officers who were abusing their offices in various ways. These include using work identity cards to gain entry into entertainment spots or other privileged places.
In addition, operatives must not use their personal cars on official business unless authorised to do so. The administrative department warned that all those would disregard the new regulations would be severely punished.
The new measures have, however, angered junior officers who complained that they would constrain their work.
“Our organisation must move with the times. It is clear that there are circumstances that require that we dress like the crowd. We don’t have to stand out because that tends to expose us.
“This business of looking like church people all the time makes us easily noticeable. We operate undercover and the last thing you want to do is to dress in a way that makes you stand out. This compromises our effectiveness,” said a junior female officer.
“For instance, at the MDC-T demonstration during the SADC conference (on industrialisation), some of us felt constrained because we could not freely move around as we had been forced to be in formal attire,” she added.
Another female operative described the CIO leadership as “old school”. “What is indecent about colouring your hair? It’s not mini-skirts that are indecent,” she said.
A male officer said: “Most of the time there is no fuel or vehicles to use and we have been doing our operations in our own cars. Now they are banning that – yet they still expect you to deliver. This is ill-advised”.