Junior ranks get massive bonuses (23-11-06)

BULAWAYO - Overjoyed junior members of the security forces this week confirmed they have received "underground" bonuses worth five times their normal salaries as President Robert Mugabe battles to constrain simmering discontent among their ranks.
The bonuses have seen the lowest paid officer

, who usually earns a basic salary of around Z$27 000, netting above Z$120 000 this month.
More than 7,000 junior members of the security forces, mostly the police and army, are reported to have either resigned from or deserted their jobs due to low salaries, resulting in the government’s spy Central Intelligence Organisation and security chiefs pressuring Mugabe to award them massive salary increases.
Mugabe is said to have promised underground bonuses this month before giving another hefty salary increment and more allowances in January next year.
“It is true. We got the increments but they were not entered in our payslips, I think it is because the directive came after our payrolls had been printed. The most junior officer with little deductions is in the region of between $120 000 and $127 000. In normal circumstances, we should be having around $54 000 as basic salary plus bonus,” said one of the junior soldiers.
Some junior soldiers, confirmed the increments, but said they had been given special instructions not to talk as this would cause an uproar among government workers outside the security forces.
Defence Minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, said: “For matters of national security we are obliged to keep the security forces happy … However, that does not mean we should go public about every effort we put into safeguarding the country’s security.” – Own correspondent

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