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Zimbabwe Spy Chief Convicted of Attempted Murder and Pardoned by Mugabe Dies

  • Blessing  Zulu

The Deputy Director (internal) of the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), Elias Kanengoni, died Thursday.

His elder brother, Alexander Kanengoni, said the spy boss was taken ill at a private clinic in Harare on Wednesday night and was pronounced dead Thursday.

Kanengoni had been campaigning to represent Zanu-PF as a senatorial candidate for the Mazowe constituency in Mashonaland Central Province.

Zanu-PF sources told VOA that Mr. Kanengoni was also helping party commissariat director, Rretired Air Mashal Henry Muchena, develop its election strategy.

Kanengoni gained notoriety for shooting the late former Gweru mayor Patrick Kombayi during the 1990 election. Kanengoni and Zanu-PF activist Kizito Chivamba shot Kombayi six times in the groin.

Kombayi was running against the late Vice President Simon Muzenda in a hotly contested election in Gweru, Midlands Province. Kanengoni and Chivamba were sentenced to serve seven years in jail but were pardoned by President Robert Mugabe.

Kombayi’s relatives say he was permanently disabled and never recovered from his wounds. He died in 2009.

Kanengoni, who was a mere operative at the time, rose through the ranks to the position of deputy director general.

In 2011, he was appointed to the powerful central committee of Zanu-PF, sparking protests from the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that a serving CIO chief should not also be a leader in a political party.

State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi forced Kanengoni out of the central committee after the issue was raised in a parliamentrary debate.

Meanwhile, former Matabeleland-North governor Jevan Maseko, who succumbed to cancer in Bulawayo on Monday, will be buried at the national shrine this Sunday.

It is still unclear whether President Mugabe will attend the funeral as he is expected to attend jubilee celebrations of the African Union on Saturday in Addis Ababa.