Sex for food at army barracks

HURUNGWE - Junior female army officers stationed at Magunje Barracks here are complaining of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of senior officers who are alleged to be soliciting sex in exchange for food and as a prerequisite to pass the training.

Junior officers undergoing a six months military training told The Zimbabwean that they had been subjected to all forms of abuse by military instructors who took advantage of their desperation for employment. They said the instructors took advantage of food shortages in the military camps to abuse junior female officers by luring them in their rooms for sex in exchange for food and favours during training exercise.

For you to pass the six months rigorous training you have to succumb to the demands of these instructors or you risk going home before completion of the training, said one junior officer, who refuses to be named for fear of victimisation. She added that those who turned down the demands were punished.

A senior female officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that there was rampant abuse of junior female officers by senior officers. Another male junior officer said: There are a lot of things going here and are just swept under the carpet. The young female officers are being sexually abused in exchange for sadza and bread. The situation is pathetic but there is nothing to do because they need to save their jobs.

A senior officer at the Press Relations department refuted the allegations but refused to comment, referring all questions to the head of army Public Relations, Col Ben Ncube, who was unreachable. I am not aware of this development but the army does not allow such an unruly behaviour among its rank and file but phone Col Ncube in Harare, he said. The recent massive army recruitment exercise has been rocked by allegations of corruption and abuse of young girls and boys.

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