ZNA recruits war vets, Green Bombers( 01-03-07)

Faced with rising numbers of desertions and resignations and mounting pressure from opposition uprisings, the Zimbabwe National Army has embarked on a massive training programme.
An estimated10 000 war vets and products of the controversial national youth training programme, infa

mously known as the Green Bombers, are undergoing training.
Sources say selection is monitored by the army’s intelligence unit to ensure the recruitment and promotion to senior ranks of individuals whose loyalty to Zanu (PF) is well proven. The programme has sparked a lot of controversy within the ranks, with long-serving senior officials alleging that they were being denied promotion because of their political neutrality.
An official from the ZNA public relations department who declined to provide his identity said: “The ZNA is always going through recruitment processes and I am not aware of your so-called special programme. It is also normal that war veterans and any other citizens are recruited.”
Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi said there was “nothing wrong with the country training more people to provide national security”.
Investigations have shown that the ZNA has over the past two months done what insiders say was “secret recruitment of war veterans and Green Bombers”.
“It is secret in the sense that there are no advertisements being placed in the press as is the norm,” a senior ZNA source said. “The process is being done in liaison with the intelligence department of the ruling party and most of the people undergoing training are based in Mashonaland Central.”
Another ZNA official said there was a lot of disillusionment within the army. “Most of us who are not openly loyal to Mugabe are being victimized by being left out on promotion or money-spinning assignments,” he said. “War veterans are being given preference and we are not happy. That is part of the reason why many senior officers are quitting the army both formally and also without resigning in the proper manner.” – Itai Dzamara

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