Impatient after Mugabe ouster, Zimbabwe soldiers ‘to get houses’: report

Harare - President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government plans to build houses for soldiers in a bid to ensure their loyalty in the face of poor pay and working conditions, a report says.

A man holds up the national flag of Zimbabwe as Zimbabwean soldiers are celebrated by citizens in the streets in Harare after the resignation of Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe. Photo: AFP / Marco Longari

Some unranked soldiers have written to their commanders demanding a “share of the spoils” after last November’s military operation that ousted Robert Mugabe as president. He had been in power for 37 years.

The new government plans to partner with a local building society to build at least 20 000 low-income housing units for the troops, a source told the Zimbabwe Independent.

“Ultimately the project should yield 60 000 houses for all other security personnel, which means the army, police and other security services,” the source said.

“Commanders are taking seriously things like anonymous letters written to them. The soldiers who wrote the letters are demanding to also be rewarded for carrying out Operation Restore Legacy which led to Mugabe’s removal.

“They want a fair share of the spoils. They think that only the top brass benefitted from (the operation) through promotions, associated remuneration and perks,” the source added.

Civil servants, including 40 000 soldiers, are still waiting for their 2017 bonuses. Soldiers and members of the air force are expected to get theirs this month.

After the ouster of Mugabe, key commanders were promoted into government. Among them, Defence Forces Commander Constantino Chiwenga became vice president, while Air Force Commander Perrance Shiri became agriculture minister.

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