AREX infiltrated by CIO – Villagers

MREWA - Villagers here have said the Agriculture Extension Services (AREX), has members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) among its ranks.

Since 2000, we have noted with concern that CIO operatives were masquerading as agriculture extension officers, to monitor operations of MDC and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) suspected to be promoting regime change by the Mugabe-led Zanu (PF), said a senior villager at Msami. The villager said, out of every four or five agriculture extension officers allocated to a ward, one would be a known CIO agent. He said the extension officer would attend MDC and NGO meetings and projects, to monitor proceedings on behalf of the state security agents.

According to other villagers, this had influenced formerly professional agriculture extension officers, into becoming government spy agents, at the expense of giving farming expertise to farmers. Community confidence in agriculture extension officers had waned. On the other hand, extension officers service delivery has been affected as they have taken sides. They have been accused of giving selective professional farming advice to influential Zanu (PF) officials in farming communities.

The infiltration of CIO into AREX led to biased selection of beneficiaries of government funded farm inputs. AREX had influence in selection of successful farmers deserving government subsidised agriculture inputs. The scheme benefited mainly Zanu (PF) loyalists, said another source.

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