The army is said to have taken the move in a desperate bid to retain loyalty which seems to have taken a largely fragmented since the formation of the inclusive government last February. Many soldiers could be seen in central Harare carrying green plastic dishes containing a variety of goodies meant to provide a little festive cheer to a group which has otherwise been used to special treatment.
Before the establishment of the inclusive government soldiers were regarded as a special breed among the countrys civil servants. They earned more than other civil servants and in most cases they salaries is not known since they are not part of the Public Service Commission (PSC). During last years cash shortages they had money delivered at their barracks by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officers. But the inclusive government has been singing a different tune, imposing a uniform basic salary for all civil servants. But last week, many of them relived the good old days when a 75-seater bus came full of hampers at the Army Headquarters in central Harare.
Immediately the soldiers formed a queue outside to receive their share. They are just hampers which force members are being given as Christmas presents, said one soldier who had just received his hamper. We used to get these hampers long back but they had disappeared two years ago. Here at the headquarters we are getting hampers, others at other stations are getting meat and different other things. Inside the dish hamper was a 2 kg bag of Ilovo sugar, 2 kg Pro Brands Rice packet, Stella tea bags, 1 litre sterilised milk, two bars of soap, 2 litre cooking oil and a 2 litre Mazoe Orange Crush.
While soldiers were getting hampers, nurses, teachers and other civil servants got bonuses from PSC. Teachers took home US$ 300 while state registered nurses went home with $390 with the extra US$ 90 coming from an undisclosed donor. Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, who blocked government auditors from access police records last month is said to be busy issuing out rogue policemen and women with force numbers in a desperate bid to cover up the existence of ghost workers.Post published in: News