Engage citizens, don’t spy on them,President Mugabe told
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been urged to shun his notorious act of sending his dreaded state apparatus the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to infiltrate and spy on citizens meetings.
While participating in a discussion hosted by AMH media at a local hotel in Harare yesterday, a human rights activist called on Mugabe to heed citizens’ grievances by engaging them in dialogue in order to find a workable solution.
The activist who only identified himself as Backie said it is disheartening that Mugabe has opted to spy on his citizens. “I would like to thank civic societies for a job well done in conducting meetings so as to give citizens to come together and deliberate on issues affecting the nation.
“The fact that the president is sending spies to your meetings means your presence is being felt. However, it was going to be more productive for him and the people at large had he resorted to sent representatives who could openly engage the people on his behalf and give him feedback, rather than sending spies,” he said.
He added that by sending spies, the president is therefore regarding his citizens as enemies, and that these create distrust between him and the people.
A renowned author in Zimbabwe Tsitsi Dangarembga also weighed in saying we are under autocratic system where children can be beaten up for questioning parents’ decisions.
Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya says the state is being ruled under totalitarian, colonial laws and autocratic tendencies which can set up constitutional courts and other commissions like the Anti Corruption Commissions, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, etc, but within that discourse suppress democracy.
“They have elections only to portray democracy to the outside world, but those elections are not fair because of the system. This use of the law as an instrument of oppression reflects the state of those in power and their machinations. We have political problems which require political solutions that can only be achieved through citizen engagement and not the current spying technique being employed by Mugabe,” says Dr Ruhanya.
He says it is because of that system why citizens are viewed as enemies by its own government. He urges Zimbabweans to continue fighting through dialogue and demand for accountability by public office bearers.
Meanwhile, reports of infiltration of meetings has now taken a centre stage, some journalists attending media briefing conferences in Harare have also raised the same concerns that the state is infiltrating private meetings. One scribe once told Zim News after a press conference at Media Centre in Harare recently, that the ‘spying on them’ create disharmony and distrust among the citizens, the media and the state.