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  • Crisis Report Issue 154
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
    February 25, 2013

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    Human Rights Defenders Live in Trepidation

    The town of Masvingo has reportedly turned into a house of consternation amid a barrage of raids on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and harsh targeting of their staff, which sources suspect has roped in the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO).

    One human rights defender, whose name has been supplied, is said to have left Masvingo in a hurry after learning of a suspected Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) underground operation.

    The witch-hunt is reportedly eyeing 10 human rights defenders based in Masvingo.

    The Crisis Report Team, after learning of the development from a source in Masvingo, spoke to the Director of the organisation who confirmed that the activist had left unharmed.

    Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development Trust (COTRAD), a non-governmental organisation based in the Southern town, said:

    "Sources inside the security sector have revealed that a contingent comprising of a 10 member high level gang of the Central Intelligence Organization from Harare are on a tour to threaten, thwart NGOs work in Masvingo ahead of the referendum and general elections."

    According to COTRAD, the CIO team has a list of 10 people they are targeting.

    Suspected to be on the hit list are: Thomas Mbetu, the Regional Coordinator of Zimrights, Prosper Mtandadzi, the ZESN Field Officer for Masvingo, and Peter Muchengeti, a Zimbabwe Peace Project Field Officer.

    Elliot Muposhi, the Regional Coordinator for Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU), Gamuchirai Mukura, the Project Coordinator of COTRAD, Zivanai Muzorodzi, the COTRAD Programs Manager and other unrevealed names complete the shadowy list.

    The CIO deployees are now suspected to be behind the night time break-in at the ZESN offices in Masvingo which saw invaluable property and documents being whisked away.

    Masvingo is not new to attacks on Non-Governmental Organisations as on February 11, 2012, Governor Titus Maluleke announced a ban on their activities flanked by members of the security forces.

    The Governor's actions followed a Zanu-PF resolution to crackdown on NGOs made at its 12th annual People's Conference in Bulawayo in December 2011.

    Another resolution against NGOs and their work was made by the party's 13th annual National People's Conference in Gweru in December 2012.

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