Mugabe extends CIO boss contract

bonyongweHARARE President Robert Mugabe has extended CIO director general Happyton Bonyongwes contract until 2013, impeccable sources told The Zimbabwe on Sunday last week. The sources claimed that extension of Bonyongwes contract was with consent from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara in line with the global political agreement (GPA

The MDC agreed with President Mugabe to extend the contract, said a source, who agreed to speak on condition he was not named.

Tsvangirais spokesman James Maridadi and MDC-M spokesman Edwin Mushoriwa were not immediately available for comment on the matter.

But MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the party was unaware of the extension of Bonyongwes contract. As a party we are not aware of that appointment. If such an appointment was made then it was arbitrary, he said.

State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramai, under whose portfolio the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) falls, declined to comment on the matter saying he does not discuss state security issues with the media as a matter of policy.

Dark hand

The CIO has long been viewed as the dark hand behind the gruesome violence that has marred Zimbabwes political landscape for years.

Human rights groups and the MDC have often accused Mugabe of turning the state spy organ into a private force that has hunted down perceived political opponents of his Zanu (PF) party, kidnapping, torturing and even murdering them over the years.

The CIO has also been accused of harassing and intimidating independent journalists seen as too critical of Mugabe and Zanu (PF).

Of late the CIO has been accused of playing a key role in last years abduction and torture of prominent human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and about 30 other human rights workers and members of the MDC.

According to our sources, Mugabe re-appointed Bonyongwe, a retired army brigadier, last month. The re-appointment until 2013 would coincide with the expiry of Mugabes current term of office if plans to hold fresh elections after a new constitution is enacted were not followed through.


But insiders said the re-appointment of Bonyongwe has angered some senior operatives at the CIO who wanted a new person to take over after the incumbent was accused of being sympathetic to the opposition, including Simba Makonis Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn party.

In the run-up to the historic March 2008 parliamentary and presidential elections, Bonyongwe was linked with Makonis bid to oust Mugabe, a move critics claimed signalled that divisions in Zanu (PF) were filtering down to the intelligence and security community.

Also in March 2008, the CIO sought a High Court order to gag privately owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper from publishing a story disclosing details allegedly linking Bonyongwe to Makoni.

There were also reports that Bonyongwe, who is linked to the Zanu (PF) faction controlled by retired army general Solomon Mujuru, was engaged in a bitter power struggle with his deputy at the spy agency, Maynard Muzariri, who is linked to Mujurus rival, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

There are a lot of unhappy faces at the Red Bricks (CIO headquarters) following his re-appointment, added another source.

President Mugabe first appointed Bonyogwe as his chief spy in April 2003 following the re-assignment of retired brigadier Elisha Muzonzini as Zimbabwes ambassador to Kenya. Prior to his appointment Bonyongwe served as deputy director general of the CIO.

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