Mugabe pledges army pay rise

HARARE - President-elect Robert Mugabe yesterday promised better remuneration to defence forces and urged them to remain loyal in the face of what he called imperialistic forces seeking to oust him from power.

Mugabe, speaking at a function to mark the annual Defence Forces Day, acknowledged the appalling remuneration in the security sector.

“Conditions of service for the defence forces, like those of civil servants, have remained below expectations considering that their salaries and allowances fall below the Poverty Datum Line,” Mugabe said.

“Transport, accommodation and personal kitting are also far below the establishment holdings. Inadequate housing also remains a major challenge.

“The illegal sanctions have resulted in inadequate budgetary allocation to the ministry of Defence.”

Notwithstanding the seemingly numerous hurdles ahead, Mugabe promised to “continue to pursue possible ways of alleviating these challenges with the view of improving the situation.”

Soldiers earn about $300 a month and want the government to raise their wages in line with the PDL.

Mugabe said given the paucity of resources, “many of us wonder what makes the Zimbabwe Defence Forces continue to tick.”

He said the defence forces were a “reliable pillar”.

At the height of the economic crisis in 2008, dozens of troops ran amok in the Zimbabwean capital Harare after losing their temper due to cash shortages at the time.

The military is seen as one of Mugabe’s core supporters and was accused of taking part in a campaign against the opposition during the 2008 elections and also during the 2013 polls.

Civil service pay takes up at least 60 percent of government revenues, and limited resources make it difficult for the State to increase wages significantly. Mugabe did not state how he planned to bankroll the defence forces’ increment.

He spoke after inspecting troops on parade in the packed soccer stadium. Decked in medals and a green and gold sash, Mugabe said the military was doing a sterling job protecting national interests and engaging in social projects.

“The ZDF has conducted numerous community projects including, the construction of the Tangwena Road in Nyanga, Munangwe School in Dande, building of classrooms at Mbizo School in Kwekwe and constructed four classroom blocks at Nyakasikana School in Seke Communal Lands among other projects,” he said.

“It is therefore surprising that some misguided fellow countrymen, at the behest of their Western allies, blatantly disregard the good work done by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,” Mugabe said.

“They disguise this by demanding what they call security sector reform, when it is obvious the enemy’s real ploy is to dilute the efficiency of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.”

Throughout the GPA period, the MDC formations have complained about security sector partisanship.

Over the last five years, several senior Zanu PF and security officials have made statements about the military rejecting or having  difficulty in accepting results should Mugabe lose elections, which he won by 61 percent on July 31 amid vote-rigging charges by his opponents.

At the National Security Council (NSC) meetings, the MDC parties insisted on the need for reforms. But Zanu PF and security chiefs dismissed their calls as beyond the NSC’s mandate and construed it as an attempt to push for regime change.

Analysts say this was a well-worn and self-serving argument that contradicted Zanu PF’s commitments to the new Constitution that explicitly prohibited the security services’ involvement in politics.

Mugabe said this year’s theme, “Zimbabwe Defence Forces in defence of national sovereignty, social and economic development”, dovetails with the Zanu PF maxim, Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Employ.

“The theme is more relevant in consolidating the gains of our hard-won independence. They failed to frustrate our noble efforts to consolidate our economic independence.

The indigenisation and economic empowerment policy will continue,” Mugabe said.

“In spite of the demonisation that we have endured over the past 13 years under the West’s regime change agenda in conjunction with their local allies, they have failed to frustrate our noble efforts,” said Mugabe.

He said Zimbabwe has developed a robust hybrid defence system out of its Look East policy with Asian countries including China, from which it receives equipment and training.

The country was also side-stepping Western arms and spares embargoes by manufacturing its own spares. Britain and the EU have slapped an arms and military equipment embargo on Zimbabwe as a result of charges that Harare has trampled on human rights and abused democratic processes.

Mugabe said he was accelerating a drive to transfer ownership of foreign firms to local blacks in line with the mandate he claims he was given on July 31.

Comments (7)

Zvino masangishenzi zvaacharamba ariko after maerekishoni, mari yekuwedzera masoja ichabvepi? Kubvunzawo zvangu.

Semhalo - 15 August 2013

Please Mr reporter I think it is good to say exactly what somebody said. Your partisan reporting is not doing you nor the nation at large any good. The President talked of civil servants salaries which are below PDL, and promised to do something about it. Why on earth do you want to create a situation whereby others end up feeling that there is an institution that is favored than others? Surely its high time that the daily news learn to report positively on all sides. However it is a blessing in disguise as the majority of people are now questioning your way of reporting. So many times you refered to the President in humiliating names and always referred to former Primeminister with the respect htat goes with his appointment. You always twist whatever President Mugabe says to suit your hate campaign. It is okey but remember we are not fools as you might think. We even know better than you except for a few who take your stories seriously and mislead themselves. Please stop this hate hate reporting. You can still get better salaries for accurately reporting. Plus more 1 million votes to President RG Mugabe.

Takeiteasy Marcaves - 15 August 2013

Mugabe is trying to buy loyalty. What has the West or Imperialist forces got to do with ZanuPF cheating in the mock elections? The man is absolutely insane.

Chin - 15 August 2013

WHEN ZBC AND HERALD DEMONISE OTHER PARTIES YOU ARE HAPPY BUT WHEN YOU RG IS PLACED ON THE SAME PLATFORM YOU CRY FAWL SEI.

BETS - 15 August 2013

WHEN ZBC AND HERALD DEMONISE OTHER PARTIES YOU ARE HAPPY BUT WHEN YOU RG IS PLACED ON THE SAME PLATFORM YOU CRY FAWL SEI.

BETS - 15 August 2013

LOYALTY can not be bought by money,What ZANU is doing is very dangerous because the shops that we all buy in are the same & the prices are not different either,so we can talk the sweat language but in reality the situation is deteriorating by the day .When soldiers ran amok in 2008 due to money shortages in banks it is going to happen again but this time it is going to last ,cause those who reason know that politicians use them so that they live pretty at their expense .

CASHTALK - 15 August 2013

Semhalo, the current sanctions doesn't affect our economy this is the right time for us to show that we can do it alone. We have got our special and expensive natural resources here in Zim but the problem is greediness from our leader who are claiming to be elected by us but are oppressing us. Whoever on government posts what he is doing is make sure he fill his stomach and forgetting the rest. Salaries for the civil servants is nothing as compared to some other guys' bank account which is abroad in different names. These top guys can pay the civil servants for the next two decades but the nation is crying. Let our elders get small salaries from the government each month as u claimed they voted for ZANU.

Bigman - 16 August 2013

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