ZANU PF has allegedly deployed the Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ), to spy on and intimidate non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

FAZ is a registered private voluntary organisation reportedly linked to the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

According to a report titled “FAZ, Lawfare and the Menu of Electoral Manipulation”, by Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI), FAZ is being used to cripple civil society organisations (CSOs). Part of the report read:

"FAZ has been used to restrict the activities of civil society organisations, which play a vital role in promoting democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe.

FAZ group, which is made up of former military personnel and CIO operatives and led by CIO deputy director Walter Tapfumaneyi, is being used by ZANU PF to spy on and harass CSOs."

Speaking to NewsDay, ZDI principal researcher Bekezela Gumbo FAZ has been monitoring CSO activities and disrupting their work resulting in self-censorship by some NGOs. Said Gumbo:

"This has also led to self-censorship among civil society people.

Calling people to meetings which are hosted by non-governmental organisations has been difficult due to the heavy presence of FAZ in their community.

Some of these people, who would have been invited to the meetings by the CSOs, are afraid that their personal information will not be safe, hence the risk of being harassed.

Many CSOs are now afraid to be vocal, they now self-censor."

However, FAZ president Kudakwashe Munsaka told NewsDay that the report by ZDI is mischievous and meant to soil their image.

Munsaka, who was the ZANU PF candidate for the Binga North parliamentary seat in the 23 August 2023 elections, lost to Citizens Coalition for Change’s Prince Dubeko Sibanda.

ZANU PF’s acting director for information, Farai Marapira, also dismissed the allegations raised by ZDI saying they are false.