CIO deployed to vet aspiring candidates

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, seeking to extend his 33-year stranglehold on power, has given the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) the nod to vet Zanu PF aspiring candidates countrywide ahead of the party’s primaries in preparation for general elections.

Report by Elias Mambo

Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent Mugabe and Zanu PF are leaving no stone unturned in their quest for victory, hence the move to engage CIO operatives to do background checks and assess the potential of each aspirant to avoid the 2008 scenario in which the party lost control of parliament.

“We submit our CVs through the President’s Office (CIO Department) which will then forward them to the district,” a source said this week.

As part of the background checks, sources said the CIO was particularly interested in a person’s role in Zanu PF over the last five years, and one’s private life which includes close observations of aspiring candidates’ political background and social connections.

CIO sources said teams have been dispatched to each of the country’s 10 provinces to check, among other the things, the popularity of the potential candidates and whether they have the capacity to win against rival MDC  parties’ candidates.

“We have reports on each and every candidate. It will soon be handed over to the (Zanu PF) national chairman (Simon Khaya Moyo),” said a top CIO source.

The intelligence operatives have been going ward by ward checking on the integrity and popularity of aspiring candidates.

“In fact, they claim they know approximately how many votes we will get in the forthcoming elections,” said a source who is eyeing a parliamentary seat on a Zanu PF ticket.

These revelations confirm Zanu PF Hurungwe East legislator Sarah Mahoka’s recent claims in court that Mugabe, Zanu PF and the CIO are one and the same thing.

Mahoka alleged that she saw “Zanu PF aspiring candidates’ papers at the President’s Office, which had invited aspiring candidates to submit their papers. That is also where I submitted my own papers”.

However,  State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi refuted the allegations saying candidate vetting is a party process.

“Those are false accusations because vetting is a party process which has nothing to do with state security,” Sekeramayi said.

Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said vetting is done through the election directorate chaired by the party’s chairperson SK Moyo.

“Our vetting process is done by the election directorate which is chaired by our party’s national chairperson,” said Mutasa. “We do not involve the security apparatus in checking the suitability of our candidates,” he said.

The involvement of the CIO in Zanu PF structures partly explains the party’s resistance to security sector reforms aimed at ensuring professionalism and levelling the political field in the forthcoming elections.

All attempts to reform the military or the broader security sector have been met with fierce resistance from Zanu PF which has vowed never to allow changes in the sector, arguing it would be detrimental to state security.

The Joint Operations Command, which brings together heads of the army, police and the CIO, has played a strong commissariat role for Zanu PF in all previous elections, especially the disputed June 2008 presidential run-off polls.

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