Mugabe promises soldiers more money

Working conditions for foot soldiers in the Defence Forces are a cause for concern and government will do its best to raise their salaries to above the poverty datum line, says President Robert Mugabe.

Soldiers carrying Mugabe's portrait at Rudhaka Stadium on ZDF Day last Tuesday.
Soldiers carrying Mugabe's portrait at Rudhaka Stadium on ZDF Day last Tuesday.

A Defence Forces Day address read by his representatives around the country on Tuesday says: “Government would do its best to improve welfare of Defence Forces through among other methods, raise their salaries to levels above the poverty datum line. The issue regarding pensions for defence forces members who retired from active service before the country adopted the multi-currency regime would also be looked into.”

Some members of the forces, who retired prior to the adoption of the multi-currency economy, are yet to receive their gratuities. Inside sources indicated that those receiving lump sum gratuities were pocketing an average $7 000. They earn an indefinite monthly pension salary calculated at two thirds of what serving members earn. The monthly salary is subject to review in keeping with percentage increments awarded civil servants.

Currently, low ranking soldiers earn around $270 following the recent controversial civil servants’ salary hikes. This remains far below the poverty datum line pegged at above $550.

In Marondera the president’s speech was read on his behalf by the Governor and Resident Minister, Aenius Chigwedere.

Some 2000 residents witnessed the event, which was spiced by foot and arms drills. The Zimbabwe Prison Service Band provided marching music for the soldiers.

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