BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
THE State security establishment is reportedly planning to track and attack perceived opponents of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime, with local and foreign-based journalists, ex-security officers, ex-Zanu PF and opposition politicians being targeted, a leaked security document has shown.
The document, based on the minutes of a Joint Operations Command (JOC) meeting compiled on August 20 this year which was copied to directors of the Zimbabwe Military Intel Corps (MIC), Air Force of Zimbabwe Intelligent Corps, Police Intelligence and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZCPS) Intel, revealed names of individuals who were under constant surveillance for allegedly working against and sabotaging the government.
The meeting was held on August 10 and security forces were put on high alert saying they must widen the arrests of all people leading online campaigns and to engage Interpol and Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation Organisation (Sarpcco) to locate those in the diaspora.
Contacted for comment, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was not aware of the document.
Three security personnel have since been reportedly nabbed for interrogation over their links to ex-security members turned anti-government campaigners.
“I am not aware of that document. You can send it to me for confirmation,” Nyathi said.
Even after receiving a copy of the document, Nyathi professed ignorance on the authenticity of the document.
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However, a top intelligence officer confirmed the minutes were authentic.
“Yes,” the intelligence officer yesterday said, adding “our documents are encrypted when we are sending to each other.”
The document read: “Following a JOC meeting on August 10, 2020 on the backdrop of ongoing incessant attacks on the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe … Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, the ruling party Zanu PF and the government of Zimbabwe by malcontents in Zimbabwe and in the diaspora who are working in cahoots with our erstwhile colonisers to destabilise Zimbabwe and pave way for an illegal regime change, it is hereby directed that all security services be on high alert and reinvigorate efforts to stop this growing anti-government campaign.”
The minutes showed that the meeting resolved that all those who spread hate-speech and anti-government statements communicating violence by the government like ZimbabweanLivesMatter and ZanuPFMustGo hashtags should be tracked down and arrested, and that the “successful” arrests of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume were part of the co-ordinated attacks on Mnangagwa’s perceived opponents.
“This has reached a tipping point, therefore, those spearheading the campaigns should be tracked down, arrested and brought before the courts of justice. The campaigns are not only meant to foment violence and sabotage government ongoing efforts to revive the economy, but to subvert a constitutionally-elected government and replace it with foreign-funded opposition political parties. This is a direct assault on our national defence and security system. It has been established that the under-listed persons comprising opposition politicians, former Zanu PF members, ex-security services members, media personnel, activists, among others, have become security threats bent on soiling the image of Zimbabwe.
“The arrest of Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume has been successful, but there is critical need to widen the net so that those leading online campaigns are arrested. This security operation must be conducted with guidelines set by the inter-agency committee and all activities be recorded and communicated as stipulated in the aforementioned guidelines. Efforts, including engaging Interpol and Sarpcco, should also be made to locate those in diaspora activities by so-called human rights activists, NGOs [non-governmental organisations], CSOs [civic society organisations], ex-members of the security forces should be monitored.”
The document claimed that information gathered by intelligence teams revealed that some ex-security service members connected to serving members and top Zanu PF officials were responsible for the leaking of classified information to the public domain.
This was a serious breach, the document added, which should be “stopped forthwith”.
“All commanders should, therefore, be vigilant and ensure that all officers under their command are committed to the objectives of this crucial operation. The under-listed individuals should be tracked and information that may lead to their arrest should be top priority. Intelligence officers should cultivate more informers and ensure the success of this operation,” the minutes read.
Some of the listed individuals who were reportedly purveyors of misinformation about the country were listed as ex-Central Intelligence Organisation member Philip Nyevero, who is accused of releasing official secrets, Shepherd Yuda ex-ZPCS member, former Zanu PF youth leader Jim Kunaka, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president Peter Mutasa, ex-military member Albert Matapo, ex-Zanu PF youth commissar Godfrey Tsenengamu, Tajamuka’s Promise Mkwananzi, journalists Edmund Kudzayi, Mduduzi Mathuthu, Lance Guma and Simba Chikanza of ZimEye as well as Kelvin Sikhosana a member of the Special Air Service and MDC Alliance’s Stephen Sarkozy Chuma, among others.
The security establishment was also worried about a book on the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) by a former officer and journalist, Dickson Bandera.
“He has announced that he is writing a book titled Zimbabwe Republic Police since Augustine Chihuri. From the excerpts he has shared on his online accounts so far, it is clear his book is meant to expose and damage the image of the ZRP. His activities should be monitored and the release of the book should be blocked.”
All officers are now required to sign a new oath of secrecy.
Chin’ono yesterday said he had seen the document.
“If the document is genuine, then it confirms that we have been political targets for exposing corruption. The charges that were brought to us that we were inciting violence were fictitious and bogus and this document, if true, proves that our argument was right. We were arrested for simply exposing corruption which goes right to the top in the regime,” he said.
Ngarivhume said he had also seen the document, but was not perturbed by the surveillance.
“We are going through persecution from the State and the minutes confirm that. We will not be intimidated and we are not afraid of fighting against corruption. We will fight until the corruption in our society is eradicated. We are surprised that the government is putting so much resources in tracking dissenting voices but our hospitals have no medicines, doctors are not at work, teachers are on strike, what type of government is that? We will continue calling against corruption until it is eradicated,” he said.