Central Intelligence Organisation
The Central Intelligence Organisation otherwise known as the CIO is an arm of the Zimbabwe security sector whose line of work is inherently classified. For a very long time the organisation and its operations have ignited public debate and fuelled speculation.
Functions and Operations
The central role of this body is to deal with high security threats both from within and outside of the country. The organisation is headed by a Director General who is mandated to report directly to the President thereby bypassing the Minister of Defence. Reasons for this are not clear but it may suggest that matters of high national security do not need to be subjected to unnecessary red tape channels. The current Director General of the CIO is retired Brigadier Happyton Bonyongwe.
The media and the public forum have both been awash with speculation about the alleged functions of the CIO. There have been numerous reports of gross human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by the organisation which range from unlawful abductions, torturing of civilians at undisclosed location among others. Some of the incidents in which the Intelligence organisation was fingered include the attack on Nelson Chamisa at the Harare International Airport, the brief disappearance of former ZBC News host Jestina Mukoko and the abductions of Zimbabweans living in South Africa. These are some allegations that have been levelled against the organisation in the media.
Regionally, the CIO is part of the Central Intelligence and Security Services of Africa CISSA which includes other African countries such as Egypt, Botswana, Malawi, Equatorial Guinea among others. The main objective of this regional body is to achieve regional development and stability by stepping up efforts to weed out extremism and terrorism.Cite error: Invalid
<ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many. Zimbabwe once hosted the conference of CISSA In the year 2013 at a ceremony officially opened by President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and the Minister of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi officiated at the closing ceremony. The key function of CISSA is to promote security related policies and programes as well collect security information and hand it over to the African Union raher han leave he task to other organisations. In that conference held in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe CIO Director General Happyton Bonyongwe was the incoming chairman of CISSA. At the conference Bonyongwe reiterated the need to focus more on the security threats plaguing the continent with the aim of finding the solutions.
Back in Zimbabwe not much is known about the functions of the CIO, this may largely be due to the delicate nature of the organisation's line of work. Nothing about the organisation seems to be known for a fact even the buildings from which they operate from. The members of the organisation operate in secrecy except the few moments they appear alongside the President or offering their services to other high ranking government officials. There has been a lot of speculation about the activities of the CIO has been thrown around ranging from spying on Zimbabweans to them being accused of gross human rights abuses. Just as their operations, the offices of the CIO are not known where they are located.
Applying for a job in the organisation is not public knowledge like other arms of the Zimbabwe security sector like the police or the army. It has been proposed that they recruit people with preexisting links and others have even proposed that the process of recruitment is a long process in which the one being recruited is researched on to verify their suitability to the job. There have reports linking the organisation with Midlands State University in which the organisation was said to be targeting University graduates for their recruitment sessions, Matebeleland is also one of the alleged ares in which the recruitment sessions are said to take place.
- , Voice of the People, Published: February 26, 2011, Retrieved: 24 June 2014