A MAJOR shake-up is looming in the state security agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), amid revelations that the organisation’s powerful Director-Internal was recently forced out under controversial circumstances.
lligence sources said there could be an overhaul of the CIO after the departure two weeks ago of one of its veteran officers, Sydney Nyanungo, amid claims of corruption in his department and a polarised political context.
It is understood Nyanungo has since been replaced by former Counter-Intelligence head Andrew Muzonzini, who is a younger brother of ex-CIO Director-General, retired Brigadier Elisha Muzonzini. Sources said there could also be changes in positions of CIO deputy Director-General Mernard Muzariri and administration director Victor Mlambo.
Muzariri and Mlambo are also very experienced senior intelligence officers.
Sources said Nyanungo left the CIO in the last week of August in a manner that raised more questions than answers with allegations of graft in his department flying around. The allegations ranged from blackmail to extortion in the department that is widely seen as the most crucial in terms of operations in the organisation.
Former CIO deputy Director-General Lovemore Mukandi and several other officers were seven years ago accused of defrauding the spy agency of millions of dollars through a scam involving the construction of five safe houses.
Mukandi and his boss, Shadreck Chipanga, now Zanu PF MP for Makoni East, were dismissed in 1999 after repeated clashes at work.
Sources say the CIO — publicly funded through taxpayers’ money — has rival camps divided along political lines in the fractured Zanu PF. It is generally acknowledged there are CIO officers aligned to Zanu PF factions led by retired army commander Solomon General Solomon Mujuru and party bigwig Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Nyanungo was not able to comment yesterday, saying he was in a meeting. “I’m in a meeting at work at the moment,” Nyanungo said before his cellular phone went off. Telephoned again, he said: “I’m in a meeting my friend, you are now disturbing me.”
State Security minister Didymus Mutasa was also unable to shed light on the matter. “I don’t know anything about that,” he said. Mutasa was unable to discuss the issue further, saying he was also in a meeting.
Nyanungo became the Director-Internal in 2002 when the last major reshuffle was made. Prior to that he was counter-intelligence head.
The CIO internal department gathers, evaluates and analyses domestic intelligence, while counter-intelligence prevents rival spy agencies from obtaining classified information and spreading disinformation.