President Emerson Mnangagwa’s administration has sacked senior intelligence officers linked to the old dispensation of former President Robert Mugabe as the new administration seeks to align the organisation into the current thinking.
No official reason was given for the firing of the top Central Intelligence Office directors, but close sources told the Business Times that the affected were close allies of Mugabe and former CIO Director General Happyton Bonyongwe.
Among the fired are director Counter Intelligence, Musafare Nyamudahondo, Director Technical Affairs Charles Hwekwete and Director Economics Jimias Madzingira.
A senior official only confirmed a memo to that effect but refused to shed light.
“There is communication to that effect,” the official said.
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba was not immediately available for comment.
Nyamudahondo is reportedly very close to Mugabe and a family friend to the former First Family while Madzingira is said to be Bonyongwe’s brother-in-law who was also linked to Mugabe.
Hwekwete, a former soldier (Retired General) is also closely connected to Bonyongwe and said to have been brought to the intelligence organisation by his friend.
Both Mugabe and Bonyongwe, who had left the force and was serving as Justice Minister, were forced out of the ruling Zanu PF party following Operation Restore Legacy in November.
They were accused of fronting the G40 faction that had effectively taken over the party, using former First Lady Grace Mugabe to take over the reins in the ruling party.
According to sources, the Mnangagwa administration has been faced with so many security concerns amid reports the CIO and police were still sympathetic to Mugabe and could have been leaking some information to him.
The situation has reportedly been made worse by previous cases of attempts on the lives of Mnangagwa and his allies within the ruling party.
“There was need to align the organisation and ensure trusted lieutenants are put in place while those still linked to Mugabe are pushed out and that has since taken place,” a close source said.
This is not the first time a shakeup has been instituted in the organisation.
Recently, Mnangagwa fired 17 senior operatives who had reportedly facilitated a meeting between Mugabe and former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
Among the fired then were director of security Albert Ngulube, director for External Affairs, Andrew Muzonzini, Mugabe’s aide de camp Wonder Nyakurima (provincial intelligence officer – security), among others who included provincial intelligence officers.