By Simba Chikanza | When Emmerson Mnangagwa’s official advisor announced in the ZANU PF leader’s presence on 15 Dec 2017, that they would use the army to change the 2018 election results, they didn’t tell the soldiers that the respected officers would become poorer as a result of that crime of state terrorism. (Video).
Another soldier standing outside Cresta Lodge in Harare tells ZimEye, “I only have one underwear and I can’t remember the last time when I washed it, this is what our life has been reduced to.”
In the early 80s serving in the army was a national pride, but today Zimbabwe’s soldiers are an international mockery.
Fast forwards to the 1 Aug 2018 military crackdown which the United Nations have condemned, and in which 6 people were shot dead in broad daylight and scores others assaulted in Harare’s surbubs, Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri announces saying she fears there will be a coup, because soldiers have got only one uniform per person.
Speaking at parliament’s pre budget consultative Forum in Bulawayo, Muchinguri also said soldiers are failing to access basics such as food.
She said, “We also had challenges as was indicated: inadequate budget, delays in cash disbursements to Ministry’s bank accounts; prices of goods and services – suppliers refusing to accept quotations; and also this affects our levels of our preparedness to deal with any eventuality;
“Non availability of adequate institutional accommodation is an area of concern. Our accommodation is in a very deplorable state, and I hope that … (sic)we are envisaging the putting up of 5000 accommodations of thousands of forces to build a hospital and also to provide family accommodation; and this we appeal to you because most of our soldiers depend accommodation in townships; sometimes [are] disgraced, insulted, and that brings our own force into disrepute; and this is the situation.
“When we compare ourselves with other countries we are lagging behind- lack of decent uniforms adequate, our soldiers have only one uniform and you can imagine how embarrassing this situation is; and for me to be exposing our force to this situation where I have to share with Parliament. I normally am not expected, to disclose these issues. But again, I appeal to you – failure to access health care, even food. But I want to thank the minister of Finance, who has chipped in and assured us that he will address the need to make sure that we are accommodated in terms of budgetary intervention or mitigation. We share these concerns because we are afraid of mutiny. We need to control the situation in keeping our forces comfortable and happy we know what has happened in other countries…”