via Mugabe ministers fear own shadows – DailyNews Live 29 July 2015
HARARE – As Zanu PF’s deadly factional and succession wars continue to escalate, it has been learnt that paranoid bigwigs are becoming increasingly suspicious of the aides that are seconded to them from the country’s dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
A well-placed source told the Daily News yesterday that so fearful had many Cabinet ministers and other senior government officials become about being “under constant and malicious surveillance” that many of them were relying more and more on private arrangements for their safety and security needs.
He said with President Robert Mugabe now nearing 92, the succession fights within the divided ruling party were getting nastier and messier — adding that the recent alleged purchase of new spying equipment by the CIO had only served to fortify the belief that top party officials were now “truly under the cosh”.
“The shameful debacle involving the illegal and surreptitious recording of (minister of Water and Environment) Oppah
Muchinguri denouncing her enemies in the party have worsened the fears,” he added.
Muchinguri, who is now said to be aligned to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, currently has her back against the wall, as her rivals, mainly in the so-called Generation 40 (G40) camp are agitating for her political demise.
“The situation is very bad. Many ministers are even resorting to dumping their State chauffeurs and taking to the wheel themselves, as they try to keep some privacy and avoid being spied on.
“You will remember that Ngwena (Mnangagwa) had an accident sometime late last year in Harare, while driving himself. It was a tell-tale sign that all is not well,” a Cabinet minister said.
“Guys in the country’s security sector who were previously linked to ousted Vice President Joice Mujuru’s camp want to prove that they are loyal to the president and they are watching us like hawks,” another minister said.
“You should be careful now even as you speak to me, that equipment from Russia and China is now in use, and people are being monitored. I have an aide that I travel with, but I would rather be alone,” the minister added.
A contentious web of spying laws and regulations, such as those pertaining to the interception of communications, already arm government with the powers to monitor e-mails and the telephone conversations of citizens.
Despite the country’s economic meltdown and a salary freeze on salaries of most government workers, the President’s Office, which houses the CIO, received a mega budget allocation last year — with many Zanu PF officials fearful that the resources were being used in shady operations to track rivals and political opponents.
It was also revealed last year that the fall of Mujuru and her top allies such as Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo was also a result of the spying activities — with Mugabe’s wife Grace gloating during one of her “meet the people” rallies that she had watched a video of the widowed former VP in a miniskirt allegedly plotting the downfall of her husband.
Speaking in 2011, at the burial of spy chief Mernand Muzariri, Mugabe himself revealed that secret service agents were his eyes that helped him identify foes.
“Knowledge of the party doesn’t come from books, but from intelligence officers through observation, listening and even drinking in beer halls and walking with them,” he said then.