Thursday, March 20, 2008

Manicaland CIO boss on his way out

HARARE – The fissures tearing apart President Mugabe’s spy agency have claimed the scalp of another top agent, Bester Rawire, the Central Intelligence Organisation's (CIO) provincial head in Manicaland Province.
Rawire, the CIO’s provincial intelligence organization officer in Manicaland, has been linked to Simba Makoni’s presidential campaign. He is now on his way out, CIO sources said yesterday.
Rawire’s fate was worsened because he is believed to be a kinsman of the former finance minister. He hails from Makoni District, the native home for the former finance minister.
“Rawire is on his way out,” said a top officer based at the spy agency’s headquarters in the capital. “He has bee linked to Makoni.”
Rawire will become the second high flying agent to be a victim of a witch-hunt ordered by President Mugabe to sniff out those secretly supporting Makoni’s presidential bid.
His boss Happyton Bonyongwe is also in the departure lounge after he was fingured to be secretly supporting Makoni.
Although Bonyongwe has vehemently denied having any links with Makoni sources say his fate has already been sealed.
Sources within the CIO say Rawire’s problems started at Mugabe’s campaign rally held at Bezerly Bridge last week.
A senior CIO operative, identified as Jessica Chidza, reportedly approached Mugabe and informed the 84-year old leader that their boss in Manicaland was “informing members of the spy agency that Makoni’s campaign was part of a Zanu PF project to divide the opposition in the urban areas”.
Mugabe is said to have reacted furiously telling Chidza that Makoni had rebelled against him and should therefore be treated as an enemy.
Chidza, the CIO head in Mutare District is also a member of the Zanu PF central committee.
The actions against Rawire ad his boss, Bonyongwe are clear signals that divisions in the ruling ZANU PF party may be filtering down to the security establishment.
The divisions were sparked by Makoni’s decision to challenge Mugabe at the March 29 polls.
Makoni, who was expelled from Zanu PF last month, has repeatedly said he is closely working with several top people in the ruling party and government who he has not named but who he says are equally eager to see the March 29 elections usher in a new leadership for the country.
No comment could be obtained from the CIO, which does not disclose its affairs to the media as a matter of policy. A hostile Intelligence Minister Didymus Mutasa does not entertain media enquiries regarding the operations of the secret service.
“The CIO is not run through the media. Why do you think I can talk to you about the country's intelligence matters," Mutasa said, in response to enquiries from Mutareradio.

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