Zimbabwe Intelligence Service Operatives Refuse to Pay Toll Fees
Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives, seen here surrounding Mugabe in Victoria Falls, derive their power directly from the president, who sanctions their impunity. They work hand in glove with Mugabe's party and are simply there to extend their impunity to cover members of Mugabe's party, ZANU PF. Parliament and the courts mean absolutely nothing to them.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 29 October 2009
In a surprising article today from the Financial Gazette, it is revealed that Zimbabwe's notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives are refusing point-blank to pay toll fess at Zimbabwe's newly established tollgates.
A parliamentary committee said this last week that this is an illegal move on the part of the CIO.
According to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development, the only departments and agencies exempt from tollgate fees are the Fire Brigade, Ambulances and the Presidential motorcade. Everyone else must pay up, including ministers.
It is not surprising that the CIO would do something like this. They effectively see themselves as being above the law. They are, after all, the ones who were behind the abductions of Jestina Mukoko and her fellow detainees. They admitted as much in a court of law and said they would not reveal the names of the agents who abducted Mukoko, even though the highest court in the land has said the move was illegal.
The minister in charge of the CIO themselves told the court that he could not name the persons who committed the illegal act because it was a matter of national security.
This is what they always hide behind.
This is not as light a matter as it would appear to desensitised Zimbabweans. It goes directly to the issue of impunity. When impunity is brought up, it is usually in relation to ZANU PF youths and "thugs", ordinary people who commit horrendous acts and get away with them because they belong to ZANU PF.
But the CIO is actually the impunity circle in Zimbabwe. Even the ZANU PF youths that Ian Kay of the MDC was complaining about to Minister Saviour Kasukuwere last week are accompanied by CIO operatives.
The CIO has become so embedded in ZANU PF that they act only on its behalf, even though the organisation is supposed to be national organisation, serving the state and not a party.
As with any organisation, there are elements who are not bad and others who are utterly atrocious. The problem is that it appears the atrocious elements are the ones with the upper hand in the organisation because they have the direct protection of Mugabe himself.
In fact, the CIO members never identify themselves as CIO, but as "President's Office."
And their impunity is nothing new. As I have pointed out before, there are people who have disappeared without trace in the hands of the CIO, including a secretary called Rashiwe Guzha who has still not been found today, more than 15 years after she disappeared off the face of the earth.
So, parliament can shout as much as it wants, but the CIO will get away with not paying at tollgates for the foreseeable future until and unless Mugabe himself gives a directive that they should pay.
He will not do this, because the more impunity his minions commit, depending on his protection, the harder they will fight to make sure that he stays in office by hook or by crook.