President Emmerson Mnangagwa has moved a notch higher in bid to consolidate his grip on Zimbabwe’s state security service, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), which is critical to his power grip and retention bid.

Mnangagwa has appointed director of administration Patrick Donald Mutasa to the level of Deputy Director-General as his new CIO fixer.

Autocratic leaders rely on intelligence apparatus for regime and personal security, including coup-proofing.

They often manage powerful, brutal and unaccountable intelligence establishments, which they hold close.

But, despite their close relationship with – and reliance upon – intelligence, despots also frequently struggle to use it to enhance decision-making and foreign policy, and consequently suffer avoidable intelligence failures.

The new appointment is particularly critical for Mnangagwa to ward off any sign of challenge by his ambitious deputy Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga ahead of crucial elections where the spectre of “bhora musango” – internal sabotage – looms large.

To shore up his faltering grip on CIO, largely modelled in his own image as the country’s first State Security minister after Independence in 1980, Mnangagwa quietly appointed Mutasa as the troubleshooter.

The new appointment came at a time when Mnangagwa is reportedly losing confidence in CIO Director-General Isaac Moyo and some top spooks who are either not discharging their duties well or are compromised by Zanu PF’s political factionalism and internal strife.

Apparently, President Mnangagwa recently allegedly imposed close CIO operatives during the ruling party’s primary elections.

Meanwhile, his imposition of new faces to contest the forthcoming elections has reportedly created factions within ZANU PF as top guns fell by the wayside.

Newshawks/ Zwnews