Danny Stannard

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Danny Stannard was an Irish-born Zimbabwean policeman and spy who became the second director of the Central Intelligence Organisation. As deputy head of the CIO under Ken Flower, and later his immediate successor, Stannard served under both the Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe administrations. He subsequently became manager of Zimbabwe's cricket team in addition to overseeing security for the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.[1][2]

Stannard, a career policeman, was head of the British South Africa Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and later served with distinction in the Rhodesian Special Branch. During his tenure in the CID, he was known for investigating Rhodesia's most prestigious military unit - the Selous Scouts - concerning allegations of poaching and ivory trafficking.[3] He thereafter oversaw internal intelligence-gathering for the CIO after its amalgamation with the Special Branch. Stannard foiled an assassination attempt on Zimbabwean presidential candidate Robert Mugabe by a South African fifth column in 1980,[4] an event for which he was awarded the Gold Cross of Zimbabwe.[5] As a senior adviser to the post-independence regime, Stannard and many former Rhodesian agents were retained for training their successors. Secrets of Rhodesia's campaign to infiltrate political parties, silence public demonstrations, and destabilise action groups during the colonial period were thusly passed on to a new generation of intelligence operatives.[6]

After retiring from the CIO in 1996, Stannard became manager of the Zimbabwe cricket team.[7] As many white cricketers had family affected by the government's chaotic land redistribution efforts, he found himself serving as a go-between for dispossessed landholders and Mugabe.[6]

Stannard's brother Richard, a former British military policeman, was a public relations officer for the Rhodesian Security Forces during the long-running bush war. Richard later joined the Zimbabwe Intelligence Corps to serve alongside Danny. Their nephew, also Richard Stannard, was a much-decorated veteran of the Rhodesian SAS and South African Special Forces who later became embroiled with an attempted coup d'etat in the Seychelles.[8]


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