Despite announcing last year, plans to reduce the army’s manning levels from 55 000 to 40 000 for budgetary reasons, Zanu-pf Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa was last week demanding US$2.5 million for defence amid reports that 4 600 soldiers were recruited between January and May, without Treasury approval.
There are fears of the return of the infamous Green Bombers to shore up Mugabe in the next polls after Major Gen Martin Chedondo reportedly said, the army would lower its standards to accommodate youths from all villages into the army.
The military was not alone in recruiting without authority. The Zimbabwe Republic Police recruited 1 200 personnel also without Treasury approval consequently straining limited resources in training depots and military barracks.
The reason why the Zimbabwe economy is underperforming is arguably down to the radar-less and partisan indigenisation campaign and a lack of transparency in diamond remittances from the military-controlled Marange diamond fields.
This comes in the wake of revelations that the government could have been defrauded of about US$50 million after Zanu-pf allegedly irregularly employed 5 662 suspected youth militia as youth officers.
Calculations published by the Standard based on an estimated civil service average salary and allowances of US$150 for February 2009 to December 2011, showed that each youth received about US$5 250 giving an aggregate figure of US$29 725 500.
The figure could reach US$50 million after factoring in salary increases and allowances for the militias who were in Grade B1 from US$160 to US$253 in July 2011 and US$296 in January 2012.
The Mugabe regime appears to be working flat out on its Plan ‘B’ to plunge the country in a constitutional crisis by dissolving Parliament and frog-march people to sham elections regardless of what SADC leaders resolved in Luanda.
While SADC’s secondment of its representatives to Zimbabwe’s JOMIC is a positive development, the regional body lacks teeth to guarantee any credible elections by June 2013.
Indications are that the seconded officials from SADC were being sidelined by Harare’s powerful elites and could be withdrawn anytime.
If the GPA was being properly implemented, the Zanu-pf – run Joint Operations Command (JOC) should have been disbanded a long time ago and replaced by an inclusive National Security Council. The NSC should be holding meetings.
That is one of the key reforms that SADC should be pressing for apart from constitutional, electoral and media reforms, because the partisan security sector is at the core of the Zimbabwe crisis.
There is every reason to be worried about the activities of the anachronistic JOC, which is arguably pulling the strings from behind the scenes in what appears like precipitating a military coup.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London, [email protected]Post published in: Opinions & Analysis