Army extends retirement age to keep vets

zimbabwe_armyHARARE - Zimbabwe Defence Forces have extended the retirement age for serving members from 55 to 60 to retain the services of loyal war veterans.

In an expression of no confidence in non-war veteran members of the armed forces, the forces indicated members will now retire at 60. This is a major shift from the previous policy that pegged retirement age from active service at 55, said a highly placed source at the Defence Forces Headquarters in Harare.

It is a desperate attempt to accommodate loyal and unquestioning former freedom fighters, some almost walking with the aid of a walking stick due to advanced age. Army command questions the allegiance of born-frees and soldiers who did not take part in the armed struggle for the country.

According to other sources in the army, Zanu (PF) desperately needs the backing of the army in the event of another election and a likely MDC win.

Military sources said, though junior armed members accepted Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister, they could turn against him if ordered to do so by senior officers.

Without UN involvement, MDC can only rule the country after the current generation of defence force commanders has passed away. Armed forces are following political developments with interest and will spring into devastating action, when the world least expects. MDC will be caught flat-footed, said the sources.

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