Mugabe acknowledges poor conditions in security sector

President Robert Mugabe today pleaded with the Defence Forces to be patient while government finds ways of addressing their working conditions, which he admitted are deplorable.

Mugabe disembarks from the presidential vehicle after inspecting the Guard of Honour at the National Sports Stadium on Tuesday
Mugabe disembarks from the presidential vehicle after inspecting the Guard of Honour at the National Sports Stadium on Tuesday

Mugabe, addressing delegates at the 33rd anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day, however attributed the poor salaries and working conditions for the armed forces on Western imposed sanctions which he said had resulted in low budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Defence.

The event was held under the theme “Zimbabwe Defence Forces in Defence of National Sovereignty, Social and Economic Development”.

ZDF employees are earning far below the poverty datum line and their situation has been worsened by myriad other challenges that include transport and accommodation woes.

“Conditions for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, like those of other civil servants, have remained below expectations, considering that their salaries and allowances fall below the Poverty Datum Line. Transport, accommodation and personal kitting are also far below the establishment holdings.

“Inadequate housing also remains a major challenge for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces despite efforts being made to address the issue through construction projects at Dzivarasekwa, Khumalo and the Zimbabwe Military Academy, which have been negatively affected by poor funding,” said Mugabe.

He reiterated his mantra that government was dedicated to improving the situation. “The Defence Forces have however remained resolute and focused on their constitutional role of defending the nation despite these challenges. Government will continue to pursue possible ways of alleviating these challenges with a view of improving the situation,” said Mugabe.

He blasted MDC-T for calling for security sector reform saying this was a ploy to dilute the efficiency” of the military. Mugabe said his party would continue pushing the indigenisation agenda which has come under criticism from analysts for scaring away foreign investors.

The indigenisation policy compels foreign owned firms with a minimum shareholding of $500, 000 to cede 51 percent of their stake to locals.

“Now that the people of Zimbabwe have granted us a resounding mandate in the governance of the country, we will do everything in our power to ensure that our objective of total indigenisation, empowerment, development and employment is realised,” said Mugabe.

Attendants at the event included service chiefs, the Chief of the Namibian Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Epaphras Denga Ndaitwah as well as traditional leaders.

Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara and Vice President, Joice Mujuru were present while MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was in a no show despite his name appearing on the programme.

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