10 December, 2008 04:38:00 Staff Reporter
HARARE - The entire leadership of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) has gone into hiding following well coordinated abductions and
disappearances of its supporters and human rights activists by hired
foreign mercenaries from as far as Angola and the Great Lakes region,
The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal.
An operation code named "operation ngatipedzenavo" (Operation lets
finish them up), was recently launched by Robert Mugabe's hardline party
functionaries to destroy the leadership structures of the opposition.
This latest move now threatens the peace deal signed by Robert Mugabe
and opposition leaders on 15 September this year and it is now feared
that most elected opposition Members of Parliament might fled the
country into exile, leaving the much awaited constitutional amendment in
The MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai has decided to stay abroad for fear
of his life.
The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal that Zanu PF is now running a secret hit
squad with recruits from Angola and battle hardened war criminals from
the Great lakes region.
"These Mercenaries have been recruited from a number of countries in the
region and they're doing the dirty work for CIO," our intelligence
It is believed that the mercenaries are reporting directly to Emmerson
Munangagwa throught former Rwandan Presidential Guard commander Protais
Mpiranya and Mnangagwa is the Chairman of JOC (Joint Operation Command).
The operation is also receiving direct funding from the Reserve Bank.
Protais Mpiranya, the former head of the presidential guard during the
1994 genocide is on the wanted list of the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda, but he has since settled in Zimbabwe for close to
10 years and he is running Robert Mugabe's close protection unit in the
Presidential Guard together with the Libyan and Pakistan nationals.
Mapiranya is also suspected to have strong business links with
Zimbabwe's second most powerful politician Emmerson Mnangagwa and senior
Zimbabwe army officers.
He used to operate Ze'ntemba rumba Night Club at the Kopje Plaza in
Harare a few years ago.
An MDC official in hiding said, "the foreigners have been identified by
our intelligence unit on many occasions supporting government-backed men".
"We have observed that some of the people leading the abductions are
foreigners because they speak a different language and they do not
understand our local languages", he said.
"Also the tactics they are using are not peculiar with Zimbabweans
because they are cutting out the tongue, removing eyes and genital
parts. We are not sure where they come from, but we know some them speak
in Portuguese, according to our intelligence information. Robert
Mugabe's CIO are brutal, but this new trend is very much worrying, said
the MDC official.
"They are cruel and brutal. Each unit has an interpreter who tells them
what to do and we fear for those who have been abducted so far.
"The mercenaries are operating from CIO offices in Highlands, along
Enterprises road and they have bases in and around Harare and some have
been deployed across the country, but they are mainly concentrated in
A Central Intelligence Oroganisation (CIO) mole took us in a drive-by,
and showed our reporter houses in Belvedere and in Malbereighn which are
housing these murderous criminals.
They have also been deployed to Chiyadzwa diamond area in Manicaland
where they have killed so many people in a callous bloody operation.
Suspected state agents have abducted an official from the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, bringing to at least 19 the number of
MDC supporters and civil society activists to have been whisked away
without trace in recent weeks, according to an MDC official.
Gandhi Mudzingwa, a former personal assistant to MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who was working on the party's transition policy, was seized
by a group of armed men while driving in Harare on Monday, George
Sibotshiwe, a spokesperson for Tsvangirai, said on Tuesday.
The MDC suspects his abductors were members of the feared Central
Intelligence Organisation, which is also suspected of the abduction last
week of prominent activist Jestina Mukoko.
Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), was taken from her
home by a dozen armed men. Her whereabouts are unknown. Two other
members of the ZPP have since also been abducted.
Meanwhile, a group of 15 MDC members who were detained by police a month
ago in Mashonaland West province are also still missing, despite a court
order that they be brought to court or released.
The disappearances are part of a new crackdown by President Robert
Mugabe's regime against the opposition that began after talks between
his Zanu-PF party and the MDC on the formation of a unity government.
Some analysts believe Mugabe may again be trying to "soften up" the
opposition in advance of possible fresh elections. "That's a definite
possibility," said Brian Raftopoulos, director of research and advocacy
for the Solidarity Peace Trust, a South Africa-based NGO that campaigns
for freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe.
"There was always speculation that if the mediation stalled, Mugabe
would hammer structures in the country and call new elections,"
Mugabe himself last week told a group of supporters to be ready for new
It is unclear how such a move, which the MDC would likely oppose, would
resolve Mugabe's legitimacy issues. His re-election as president in an
unopposed, violent vote in June was dismissed by the international
community as a sham