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A philanthropic spirit encompassed with an entrepreneurial mind, I am passionate about technology and the things technology can help people to achieve.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Intelligence: The Case For Zimbabwe CIO....!!!

If there is anything that invokes feelings of fear, hate, rage & discomfort among the Zimbabweans it is the mention of the acronym CIO. Translated Central Intelligence Organisation, the CIO have become a legend among the Zimbabwe people; more like what aliens and terrorists are to American citizens. This perception goes back into history, reading the story of Gukurahundi one finds traces of CIO involvement with some acting as double agents to sabotage the newly formed black government. Independence brought with it reconciliation, the people were going to be one, set aside the guns and embrace the hoe to work for the common cause of Zimbabwe. Perhaps it was in this ambit that the CIO was transformed into a non-partisan force, whether this goal was achieved or not is for one to decipher. It could be the organisation was never given a chance to grow as events of the early 1980s show. Throughout the decades the dreadfulness of the reticent organisation seems to grow; more so after the birth of opposition party Movement for Democratic Change. Many abductions, torture and deaths of civilians are blamed on the CIO; but if my memory does not delude me this was never proven beyond reasonable doubt. In other circles there is mention that the secret agents are immune from prosecution. I have never really bothered to delve into the quagmire that is our laws, so patched here and there that if it was a piece of clothing every inch would have been graced by the pierce of a needle.

However one question that has never been asked but lingers in the subconscious of our minds is whether this organisation is important and whether it should be incorporated into a future democratic Zimbabwe? Some in political circles have voiced that it is not necessary to maintain such an organisation in a true democracy. But it is needful to think hard regarding this issue. The thought happened to fly past my subliminal as I was watching the commemoration of 9/11 by Americans
, in all the images that were being shown on television there was mention of F.B.I and C.I.A. The pivotal role they play in American society is evident for all to see. I do not recall the C.I.A being dreaded in America, neither is the F.B.I. Rather these are esteemed organisations in the country with employees being viewed as heroes. The C.I.A is what C.I.O is to Zimbabwe, as are the M16 in United Kingdom and KGB in Russia to name but a few countries. So it is safe to conclude that Zimbabwe is not doing anything new by having C.I.O but this is a trend worldwide. So it can be safely said that the C.I.O is a necessary part of Zimbabwe.

Given the aforementioned, it suffices to say these organisations while being similar in purpose, they are not the same in terms of how they execute or go about their daily duties. In America the CIA can be known by citizens of the Federal Republic but would be wary if they are discovered who they are by foreign citizens. While in the Zimbabwean scenario the opposite obtains. We are afraid of the intelligence; just the thought of them invokes a myriad of reactions. Without ever getting a chance to turn professional, there is a likely chance that the modus operandi of the period before independence is still the culture that prevails within the organisation. Having said the organization is necessary, a lot of transformation needs to take place. I don’t recall coming across the procedure of becoming a CIO or where to apply, neither the tests used to measure whether one is astute enough. But far from that, it is important to explain what the role of a properly functional intelligence organisation should be. Below is a list of areas where systematic intelligence can be applied for the good of the nation:

Economic Think-Tank

The economy is the hub of development, prosperity and social well-being of any country’s citizenry. Not properly managing the economy of a nation will have adverse effects that show up in the form of unemployment, social unrest and at worst civil war. Besides there being economists in all sectors, these mainly serve the interests of their employers. An example is an economist working for Barclays Bank Zimbabwe, when giving advice on policy his/her ideas is likely to be in line with what is good for the paymasters. It is a fact that the private capital pays more than government hence the economists who are likely to be in the employ of government are those with little or no experience. There is need for an intelligence unit whose goal is to analyse trends within the local economy, neighbouring countries, trade partners and the world at large. The idea is to forecast ahead, plan and give recommendations to government on the best policy. Africa is losing resources in deals that are tilted in favour of the other trade partners. An example is China’s new colonisation where they look for a desperate nation and siphon resources for a cheap price.

Information Technology

Any nation worthy of mention must stay ahead or keep up with latest technology. This is the biggest money spinner in the times we live in and probably for a great deal of the future. Nations like JapanSingaporeChina and Malaysia rose to prominence because of exporting technology. Everything is now tied to technology hence it is imperative for a nation to invest in technological skills whose role is to critique current technology and innovate. There is an insatiable desire for newer and better technology in the world. The internet which is connecting the world today was an innovation of the US Department of Defence. Recently the Iranian government’s nuclear reactors were remotely damaged by an intricately structured virus called Stuxnet; though never proven, the suspicion is the US government was the brains behind Stuxnet. There is money to be made in technology, far much more than in agriculture. Where does Zimbabwe stand in all this? What technological innovation did we have in the past half-century? It is most likely nothing. It’s time we put our best brains to the test, think with the world consumer in mind and give them something that can bring billions to the nation. Such innovation needs a well organised unit whose job is to break current technology and see areas where it can be improved.

Mechanical Engineering

Any nations that manufacture necessary tools always have something to export. It costs a lot of money to put an assembly plant be it for making furniture, cars or mining. We have the natural resources and we should also innovate in the areas of mineral extraction methods and processing. It takes a lot of machinery to process the resources, if indeed its true Zimbabwe is/was the bread basket of Southern Africa then why did we not have the technology to go with it? We were just good at tilling the land but we never gave care how to go about processing the food once harvested. Zimbabwe’s agriculture might have faltered but we should still be the leading nation in terms of exporting mechanical components to harvest produce. How about machines that use solar energy, we have the sun all year round, besides complaining about lack of shade we have done nothing with the sun. If other countries had as much sun all year round they would have done something about. However we are sun-baked by day, come night-time we wallow in darkness because we have no electricity.

Automotive Engineering

Cars are ever changing and there is opportunity in the current set-up. The world is struggling to move from oil consuming cars to more clean renewable energy. There is a gap to make something out of the blue, a solar car perhaps. A combination of solar and water maybe as well. There is much money to be made in automobiles and a lot of jobs too. Germany is the industrial hub of Europe; the world is driving their cars. Most of the money given to bail out Greece was actually from Germany, they had Europe begging at their feet. Japan is also a contender in the automotive sector, so is South Korea. Remember how we used to laugh at the Hyndai saying it’s a plastic car? Well today they have the most awesome Sonata, it’s no longer a laughing matter, and the cash is rolling in.

So in closing, we are mismanaging our intelligence and misdirecting our mental faculties. The Central Intelligence Organisation should be a source of pride and inspiration to the Zimbabwean people. I would have loved to work for such an organisation, get to work every day and know that the future pride of kids not yet born are hinged on how much you will crack your head to find a solution or work out new technology. Zimbabwe has a wealth of academic knowledge which is a good foundation; I remember reading of students in Singapore who scored 100% for Advanced level when I was in high school. Now they are on the rise, their education is put to good use nurtured in the right environment.

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