Grace 'confirms' illegal spying saga

HARARE - First Lady Grace Mugabe has accentuated fears that President Robert Mugabe’s government was illegally spying on certain politicians, the media and other citizens.

This comes after the 49-year-old businesswoman has claimed — for two consecutive days — that she had “electronic evidence” of Vice President Joice Mujuru making disparaging remarks about her and the nonagenarian.

While the Zanu PF Women’s League-designate boss has said this in her increasingly personal attacks on Mujuru, analysts contacted by the Daily News slammed the practice, which they say was now liable to abuse.

“I trapped Mujuru and I now have a recording of her… speaking ill of me, and the president. I told people that l do not believe in gossip and those who want to report about Mujuru… should bring a video.

“I tell you, l once saw a recording where she was inappropriately dressed in a miniskirt and talking to someone,” Grace told a gathering of students in Mazowe this week, adding “we are tired of this stupidity” and the beleaguered VP must go.

But the unsolicited remarks — that private communications and other social activities could be under the radar — have drawn sharp criticism, and fire from human rights defenders and other citizens.

David Coltart, an ex-Cabinet minister and human rights lawyer, said the alleged snooping — on phones and other activities — was illegal, and a clear violation of the law.

“Just because you hate someone does not give you a right to spy on their private communication or video record them,” Coltart said.

“It’s a total violation of section 57 of the Constitution.

“There are no grounds whatsoever to interfere with one’s communication unless you are given a court order,” he said, adding he has always suspected that his mobile phone and other means of communication had been compromised by state security agents.

“I have always assumed for the last 30 years that my communication was intercepted and interfered with. But unfortunately, that has become part and parcel of Zimbabwe.

“The new Constitution makes it all illegal.”

Dewa Mavhinga, a human rights activist, said that security agencies have always spied on those suspected of being against the establishment.

“This confirms what we have been saying, that state security agents are snooping on citizens’ communication,” he said.

“It is the same way that the state apparatus were used to snoop on opposition parties.

‘You do remember the (Morgan) Tsvangirai scandal and treason charges.

“It is now clear that people in Zanu PF who kept quiet when state security agents spied on opposition and human rights defenders are the ones who are now on the receiving end. Otherwise there is nothing new. We need to separate the state from Zanu PF. The conflation of these institutions is the reason behind the abuse of security agents.”

On the other hand, former deputy Information minister Jameson Timba said the undemocratic actions also reminded him of the old Russia.

“It is despicable and done only during yesteryears of rogue regimes like the Soviet Union or their contemporary African tinpot dictators who are afraid of their own shadows,” the Movement for Democratic Change international relations head honcho said.

“A government cannot behave like a high school peeping Tom who peeps into people’s bedrooms and listens to their pillow talk,” Timba added.

Nhlanhla Ngwenya, a media analyst, said the unfortunate — if not deadly — side of these unwarranted actions was that they were not being done for the public good or security.

“It’s clear this wiretapping was not for the public good, but personal interest. This whole saga comes… when the democratic world is strongly pushing for strong safeguards for individual privacy and is frowning upon surveillance as a gross violation of individuals’ rights,” he said.

“This revelation thus should galvanise and mobilise Zimbabweans to demand adequate protection of their basic liberties,” Ngwenya added.

Apart from Mujuru, former spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa were allegedly caught — under what many believe to be intelligence stings — on tape discussing about the overthrow of Mugabe.

While the ex-Dare Rechimurenga stalwart was reportedly caught saying that the nonagenarian “will be shot”, Mutasa allegedly told one of his “concubines” if the Zanu PF leader does not accede to Mujuru’s ascendancy, then he will be eliminated — in what many believe was a honey trap.

Last month, the Herald also reported that deputy Health minister Paul Chimedza had reportedly called a relative of Constantine Chiwenga to say Grace had said the Defence Forces commander was a Rhodesian-era spy, specifically in the 1970s.


Comments (13)

hapana nyaya inemusoro apa. why should the whole government be dragged into these petty personal issues? pedzeranai in secret madzimai. why destroy the revolution over your own problems? tauriranai moregererana mozono vima pamwepo senguwa dzekare.

tsanga - 20 November 2014

There is nothing like legal spying. It is an under cover operation and by this this notion, spying can never be legal.

Chakis choga - 20 November 2014

Mai Mujuru ngavanyatsofungisisa vanhu vakawanda vari kuedza kuva defender asi takacherechedza zvavaiita nokutaura makore apfuura aya unotorwadzwa nokushamisika

Nyamhangambiri - 20 November 2014

bazukulu see no evil, hear no evil kkkk nyanisi inkosi uLobengula!!!!!

UNCLE REAL - 20 November 2014

why are people like Grace not being real. BOB at 91 feb 2015 he is gone and gone he has . zim remains with other leaders coming up. so even if Mujuru is saying it accept bob is gone pliz.

asi chii - 20 November 2014

There are two acts of violations that the first lady has been committing without any knowledge that she is doing so. The advertising act does not allow the Mazoe Crush slogan she has been using as it is in a way an act of advertising and product promotion which is an unfair market practice and is not allowed according to the advertising act. The second one is this recent one of eavesdropping on private conversations. The third one is that of calling for the ouster of the VP which is against the country's constitution. I don't know about you but I fail to recognise even a hint of the leader in her.

Dr Know - 20 November 2014

Jonathan Moyo once suggested that Zanu PF can only be destroyed from within. This is no longer a hollow analysis but prophetic wisdom. One thing Zimbabweans never imagined though, is that the internal destruction or destabilisation would be championed by President Mugabe's own wife.

weevil chipfukuto - 20 November 2014

Munotaura Grace? Uyu murwere. She is a psychiatric patient. Zvinotaurwa zvacho hazvina musoro. We can't be lead by a psycho-malcontent and gossiper who claims to snif other people's bedroomIzvi zvinoitwa nomuroyi.

Jonathiel Moyowaonda - 20 November 2014

In primary we read a bk ,People Making History, and today ZANU is making history, we all make histry though sometimes painful to remember. we read the Rise of Hitler, the fall of Hitler, the rise of Mussolini and the fall of Mussolini, and we shall read all such in Zim, the rise of Bob and the FALL of BOB. but interestingly, Zim will never be the same without Bob. we are soon to miss him

MAX MAN - 20 November 2014

Zanu pf will do anything it wants to do in the country. Zanu pf defines itself as the ultimate law. As long it is still in charge of the country there is no laws to talk about. All perceived independent government bodies i.e judiciary is an extentsion if not a branch or cell of zanu pf. Any magistrate or judge will rule that it was a lawful "Spying" recording with the current environment in the country.Grace dont care about legality of her actions, she just want to see Mujuru gone. Mugabe , Mujuru, Mnangagwa are part of zanu people that have run down the country. They deserve a vote of no confidence.

X-MAN IV - 20 November 2014

When did you start doing Intelligence work. Allocation of farms you there. Provincial Politics you are the one running. Politburo you are the one monitoring. Why didn't you recommend Dinha to be sacked. Because he is your relative. You are so corrupt that whatever you are doing is so jacked. This is Politics be very careful my dear. One it won't be the way how you used to do things

Karigamombe - 20 November 2014

Grace chili chinoshamisa Kati wanyeyiwa Isuzu tinokureva everyday everyone in Zimbabwe think u r bonkers for your own information wetrethink u r the reason why we suffer becoz r old husband is failing but u would let him retire and u r a witch and lunatic for your own good daily mesenchymal zpf Manuka supine vamwe losers unofunga Kati u r special no u r not may be Juan bob not to US u r just another opportunistic witch u thumped ship to may a president and u r a thief how did u become a millionaire never typist job u nyare vanhu we r not all stupid witch nxaaaa

poporoza - 21 November 2014

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