‘CIO spying on exiles’
A BBC radio report that alleges that the Zanu-PF government has sent spies
to infiltrate expatriate communities in the United Kingdom has led to a call
to have aid to Zimbabwe cut.
The British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) current affairs Channel 4
programme Exiles in Fear aired last Sunday.
The presenter Jenny Cuffe said: “Rwanda and Zimbabwe are sending spies to
the UK to stifle opposition, sometimes even to kill. We also hear claims
they are using the asylum system to infiltrate refugee communities here.
Both countries receive huge amounts of aid from Britain.”
The aid to Zimbabwe is channelled through various charities. And now a
minister in the UK government has suggested that it may be time to cut off
that financial support.
Former Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Kim
Howells, responded by saying that if there was a grain of truth in the
allegations Britain would have no choice but to stop its funding of
programmes in Zimbabwe.
“If there is any hint at all that these people are threatening British
citizens or residents or they’ve been allowed to stay here, then we must say
to them: ‘I’m sorry, this aid is going to be cut off immediately,'” he said.
Cuffe said the reason aid was being sent through charities was largely
because there were gross human rights violations in the country.
“Another country (other than Rwanda) that receives generous financial
support from Britain is Zimbabwe. Though in this case, because of concerns
about the lack of democracy and human rights, the £88-million of aid is
directed through non-governmental organisations. Zimbabwe too stands accused
of sending secret agents to spy on the refugee community and report back to
President Robert Mugabe,” she said.
An unidentified source from Zimbabwe interviewed on the show gave graphic
details of how a “spy” was sent into the community in the UK.
“His mission there was to spy and provide intelligence about the source of
funding for the MDC here back home, to spy on asylum-seekers, to spy on the
Home Office, to spy on the British government, its interaction with MDC
activists in the UK and everything. So he had a very big budget to do that,”
said the unidentified source.
Exiled Zimbabwean journalist Admore Tshuma, said people are no longer safe
in the UK because they are being watched. “It is something really shocking.
It is something which will send genuine exiles and asylum-seekers
underground. We don’t trust each other anymore, ” he said.
Morgan Mutasa, the chairman of the Bristol branch of the MDC-T, said: “We
have been calling up the authorities telling them that the MDC in the UK is
infiltrated by the CIO and there is great danger for our people if they are
returned to Zimbabwe, because they have been exposed to these people and
their lives have been put at risk.”
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