Army sends officers on forced leave

THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) is forcing its members countrywide to go on two weeks’ leave every month to reduce spending on, among others, food and utility bills at barracks, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

Elias Mambo

Army sources said the officers are being sent on forced leave as the cash-strapped government devices more ways of cutting down on expenditure in most government departments in the face of dwindling revenue inflows to Treasury, as the country’s economic malaise persists.

This comes as government has already asked soldiers to look for alternative accommodation to reduce the number of personnel staying in barracks.

“Since January we have been taking two weeks’ off duty and we were told by our superiors government is trying to cut expenses,” said a junior officer based at the Battlefield (BF) army base near Kwekwe who requested anonymity.

“We have also had to seek alternative accommodation because each time we are off duty we should be out of the barracks as well,” he said.

The sources said the government’s cash squeeze has also stalled the army’s construction projects, which include the Dzivaresekwa housing project, the 5:2 Infantry Battalion housing project, the Zimbabwe Military Academy project, the rehabilitation of the sewer system at 42 Infantry Battalion and the construction of flats and a diagnostic laboratory at the Air Force’s Fylde Air Base.

They said most of last year, canteens at barracks were serving simple meals like sadza and beef, sadza and cabbage or beans because the army was unable to buy better foodstuffs which it provided in the past including starters and desserts.

In early April, a parliamentary report on defence and home affairs painted a gloomy picture of the financial position of Zimbabwe’s defence forces.

The report stated that some soldiers have not been able to access healthcare because of the army’s debts. The report also stated that Zimbabwe’s security forces were failing to fulfil all their functions because of a lack of funds.

In 2008, President Robert Mugabe faced threats of unrest from the military at the height of the country’s economic meltdown and hyperinflation when disgruntled soldiers rioted in Harare after frustration over queuing up to withdraw worthless Zimdollars from banks.

However, in an interview on Wednesday, Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) public relations director lieutenant colonel Overson Mugwisi denied that soldiers were being sent on forced leave.

“I am not aware of any cases of that nature. Of course we have problems here and there like everyone else, but no one is being forced to go on leave,” Mugwisi said.


16 Responses to Army sends officers on forced leave

  1. War Veteran July 4, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    The election results are slowly but surely trickling in. You can rig an election but you cannot rig the economy. Lets wait and see how the so called intelligent leader gets out of this one.

    Now we can understand why ZanuPF is desperate to destroy Tsvangirai- they know its a matter of time before this crisis explodes into civil riots. It is best to sow seeds of confusion in the opposition so that there is noone to galvanise support and lead the people out of this misery.

  2. Goredema July 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Zanu only undestands violence and nothing else!

    • jezebel July 6, 2014 at 3:52 am #

      same ol…lmao

    • Abri July 8, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

      So it’s true you can rig elections but you can’ rig the economy. A disgruntled and hungry army is the worst internal destroyer of any country.

  3. Nyautsi July 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    A female soldier in a kombi phoned some thugs & told them to come at Seke -C junction to severely beat up the driver & conductor who had asked her to pay her fare.The thugs said it was law that soldiers don’t pay. I think the deployment of military police at kombi ranks will see an end to this barbarism.

    • Wilbert Mukori July 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

      When the soldiers is naive, wait until her boots are worn out!

      • jezebel July 6, 2014 at 3:53 am #

        boots2004! lol

  4. Musona July 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Before 1980 we used to read in the Rhodesia Herald and Sunday Mail that workers in some countries up north went for months without pay and we used to think it was all white propaganda now it is happening to us under ZanuPF, the so-called liberators. When all this is happening you get some morons saying “we were liberated”! Absolutely disgusting. With cataclysmic debts of $10 billion the situation is only going to get worse but Mugabe and ZanuPF will not step aside and admit failure. Chickens are coming home to roost. It was unheard of before 1980 to hear that workers had not been paid when their pay was due. Black rule is very very excruciating. It is worse than slavery because with slavery the slave knows he/she will not be paid but slaves were fed, had somewhere to sleep and paid no utility bills or school fees – in this case in ZanuPF-run Zimbabwe workers expect to be paid but they are not paid and their families face hunger, high utility bills, no water, no electricity and no hope. And some idiots say we were “liberated”? A nightmare without an end.

    • Wilbert Mukori July 4, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

      Well the penny will soon drop in the heads of those morons who have helped Zanu pF rig elections and stay in power over the years. Poverty has no respect for Zanu PF membership status even the party grandee Nathan Shamuyarira died a pauper; poverty will teach these die-hard Zanu PF morons a lesson or two!

  5. Wilbert Mukori July 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) is forcing its members countrywide to go on two weeks’ leave every month to reduce spending on, among others, food and utility bills at barracks, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

    The more this Zanu PF tries to pretend it can somehow ride the storm of the economic meltdown the more it is reminded that it cannot because the storm is only going to get worse until the underlying causes of the storm are address.

    Corruption is one of the underlying causes of the economic meltdown. For years Mugabe has denied corruption was a problem; today the cancer has grown to the size of tennis balls. Mugabe will never do anything about it because corruption is just one of the by-products of his political patronage system used to reward those loyal to him and the party’s cause of retaining political power at all cost. He has been the chief beneficiary of the corruption and looting himself and his recent flouting of his loot has not helped.

    He had a $1 million birthday party, followed by a $5 million wedding for his daughter which took place in his $20 million Blue Roof mansion. A few weeks ago he gave his daughter another be-lated wedding present of Mapfeni Farm in Mazowe complete with a three storey mansion worth millions too. All the other party members have been playing catch-up and Mugabe is powerless to tell them to stop!

    What is of great interest is whether these rank and file soldiers and civil servants whose contin-ued support the regime needs to stay in power understand what is going on here. Do they really understand that the system is unsustainable and is doomed to collapse? If they had known that all along they would not have helped the regime rig the elections.

    Of course when these rank and file soldiers are on the forced leave, they face the same economic hardship as everyone else; little do they know that they are as much the victim of this Zanu PF monster they have help created as the rest of us! The penny will finally drop when the boots they are wearing are worn out!

  6. Buffalojump July 5, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    Excellent comment Mukori.

  7. E Makhate July 5, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    That’s what happens when morons and kleptomaniacs are in charge, no money left in the coffers. Very soon these soldiers who are used to beating civilians during election campaigns will be robbing people. The end is nigh. Who thought this would gradually come to this. No dictatorship can afford to have starving soldiers.

  8. Aliphelithemba July 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

    May our boys get into serious cereal crop agriculture/farming barrack by barrack instead of just going home to rest.They must realise that economic challenges need practical responses outside the box. Let the Army take over these idle farms and turn them green with irrigated cereal crops to feed themselves and the nation.What else does a soldier do during peace times?

  9. Aliphelithemba July 5, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    But how can our boys suffer like this yet Treasury is bankrolling IMPI with US$ms which is nothing but some person’s ego boosting project? After all this IMPI’s findings will never be implemented.

  10. Billy Pule July 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    I think Zimbabweans are also to blame for not thinking outside the box and create a strong private sector where the government would be able to get taxes and contribute to the fiscus.We are highly educated but have reduced ourselves to informal traders. Sometimes we should not always blame the politicians, although the government must create an enabling environment for the private sector to flourish. Lets try and remove the employee mentality and be masters of our own destiny!

  11. Abri July 8, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    I suggest the Zim. dollar is brought back just for use by the army in army-owned shops only.

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