Zimbabwe: Plainclothes spies in pre-election stratagem

Reading time 2 min.

Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has deployed hordes of
plainclothes police officers to gauge support for Mr Robert Mugabe ahead of the 29 March polls.

from our correspondent in Harare

Groups of police officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Police Internal Security Intelligence (PISI) countrywide have been drafted to undertake the unorthodox opinion poll.

The CID officers were this week ordered to take leave from their normal duties to focus on the clandestine operation which is set to continue up to the elections.

The operatives have been charged with the task of compiling intelligence as to the political mood on the ground.

Information gathered in the survey is channelled to the police Law and Order division which will in turn to compile a detailed report to Chihuri who is expected to relay it to President Mugabe before the elections.

This operation, is believed, to have started creating a backlog in investigations into some criminal cases as the police details have virtually abandoned their day to day business.

“Many CID officers are involved,” said one police officer based at Harare
Central Police station.

“The whole exercise is for political intelligence gathering. What we are doing is to go around public places listening to what people are saying about the current political situation. Sometimes we interview people at random without identifying ourselves just to hear the general feeling on the ground. We are not allowed to make any arrests.”

Police spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka denied knowledge of such operation.

“I don’t know anything about that,” he said.

Previous police operations have been handsomely bank-rolled by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, headed by Gideon Gono, a loyal supporter of Mr Mugabe.

Zimbabwe is set to hold landmark elections on March 29. A combination of
presidential, parliamentary, senatorial and local government elections will all be held in one day.

There is growing apprehension within the ruling Zanu-PF party in the face of a stern challenge from the opposition, as well as from former Finance Minister and Zanu-PF politburo member Dr Simba Makoni.

Chihuri, — Police Commissioner-General — who has been accused of using force to crush Mr Mugabe’s opponents has continuously threatened ruthless police clampdown if people took to the streets to protest what is already feared to be a manipulated outcome of the watershed poll.

Chihuri is an unwavering supporter of the Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF.

The police chief has been accused of applying the law selectively to fend off Mr Mugabe’s opponents.

Zimbabwe  Read latest news and features from Zimbabwe : business, politics, culture, life & style, entertainment and sports
Support Follow Afrik-News on Google News