Victims of CIO agent granted UK asylum, urged to come forward
By Alex Bell
Victims of a self-confessed ZANU PF henchman, who has controversially been
granted asylum in the UK, are being urged to come forward with any evidence
of his alleged crimes, so that he can face trial for torture.
More information is still being uncovered about Phillip Machemedze, said to
be either a former CIO agent or police officer under Mugabe’s regime.
Machemedze made headlines earlier this year when it was revealed that during
his UK asylum appeal he admitted shocking acts of torture and brutality on
suspected MDC members in Zimbabwe. An immigration judge has since granted
him asylum, saying he faces real danger if he is deported back to Zimbabwe.
A British paper has now revealed that Machemedze was still on the CIO’s pay
roll until recently, despite his insistences that he came to the UK 11 years
ago to escape working for the notorious agency. According to the UK’s Daily
Mail, “Far from repenting and turning his back on his brutal secret work for
Mugabe he has, in fact, remained in the employment of Zimbabwe’s security
services since entering Britain on a six-month tourist visa in 2000.”
Intelligence records seen by the Daily Mail show that Machemedze has been
paid thousands of pounds by the CIO to identify the regime’s enemies living
among the Zimbabwean community in Britain. He reportedly has also been
receiving an addition £300 per month for school fees for his two children in
Zimbabwe, all paid by the CIO.
The paper also reported that one senior member of Mugabe’s security forces
alleged this week that Machemedze had been on the official CIO payroll until
just a few weeks ago. Apparently the payments only stopped when his handlers
in Zimbabwe discovered that he had revealed details of their operations
during his asylum hearings. The Mail was also shown documents, including
birth certificates and secret internal communiqués about Machemedze, which
show that he was still working for the CIO until April.
Calls for Machemedze’s arrest and deportation have continued ever since the
story broke, with the MDC’s UK branch insisting he must be deported.
Meanwhile, a UK politician has also called for the Home Office to arrest him
Machemedze, calling him a “dangerous man,” that poses a risk “to both
Zimbabweans in the UK in particular and to the British public in general.”
Sarah Harland from the UK based Zimbabwe Association meanwhile said that
rampant calls for Machemedze’s arrest will mean nothing until there is real
evidence that can be used to charge him.
“I am very uneasy about any sort of witch-hunt for any person. The process
of the law must be followed,” Harland said.
She said that any victims of Machemedze’s or anyone else with information
should come forward if they want him to face trial for his crimes.
Some doubts have been cast about Machemedze’s shock confessions, and some
observers have questioned whether he intentionally over-dramatised his
behaviour in order to remain in the UK. Evidence, therefore, would be
critical to prove this too.