THE Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) is reportedly summoning Civic Society Organizations (CSOs) in Masvingo to its offices to answer questions pertaining to their operations.
Sources have revealed that the CIO is demanding that CSOs report their activities to them, including venues for meetings, targeted people and the topic or subject to be discussed.
Human rights defenders have described this as an illegal act, saying the spy-agency does not have any constitutional right to demand such kind of information.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) chairperson, Peter Mutasa, castigated the move, labelling the Zanu PF government as an Ian Smith copycat in violating the constitution.
“This is unlawful and part of the grand scheme of the dictatorship to stifle the constitutional rights of citizens. The regime is taking from Smith’s Rhodesian colonial repression handbook,” said Mutasa.
“They seek to threaten and intimidate citizens and CSO officers in order to silence any form of dissent. They have unofficially suspended the Constitution and rights enshrined therein.
“There is an unannounced martial law in place and sadly the colonial socio-legal order has been given back life. Citizens have one option, to resist and disobey all these unconstitutional orders.
“They must take to the courts and most importantly, take to the streets peacefully protesting against these colonial tactics. Only a non-violent civil resistance will give us back our rights and freedom.”
This comes at a time when CSOs have labelled the proposed Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO) Bill a ‘draconian’ piece of legislation.
The PVO Bill is being seen as a plot by the regime to silence dissent voices in the country.
Government’s relationship with CSOs has remained acrimonious, with the Zanu PF dominated administration labelling them “regime change agents.”