A MEMBER of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) based in Chiredzi caused a scene early this week after he harassed two members of the European Union (EU) pre-election observer team, demanding their passports and identification details.
The CIO operative, identified as Innocent Ncube, is alleged to have harassed Christophe Menou from France and Fridarike Santner from Austria who were deployed to Chiredzi district ahead of elections slated for July 30.
It is alleged that Ncube interrogated Menou and Santner, forced them to surrender their passports and EU badges that he then photocopied before handing them back.
Though the matter was not reported to police, Santner confirmed the development saying she had raised the issue with the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme.
“Yes, we got harassed and we have since lodged our complaint with our office. You can get in touch with the ambassador he will furnish you with more details,” Santner said.
Efforts to get comment from Van Damme were, however, fruitless by the time of going to print.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on record encouraging international election observers to come and observe the upcoming elections, saying his new government had nothing to hide.
Although Ncube himself could not be reached for comment,
the District Intelligence Officer for Chiredzi, Joseph Urimbo said he was yet to receive the complaint.
“What I know is that our officer was invited to a Joint Operations Command (JOC) meeting and the meeting went on smoothly. If that incident happened after the meeting, I wouldn’t know because we have not received any complaint at our offices. However, I still need to confirm but that is not the way we operate,” Urimbo said.
Opposition political parties have in the past castigated the often arrogant and sometimes wayward behaviour of some CIO operatives, saying their record of intimidation was a bane for free, fair and credible elections.