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Mnangagwa silent on rogue security elements

by Staff reporter
10 Aug 2022 at 06:37hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday skirted the issue of rogue elements in the security forces during the Defence Forces Day celebrations in the capital despite reports linking some serving and retired officers to a spate of armed robberies countrywide.

Concerns have been raised over the poor welfare of security sector employees, while Zimbabwe has seen a rise in violent criminal activities such as armed robberies, theft of rations and public violence, especially in illegal mining areas.

Latest statistics show that armed robberies rose from 214 in 2016 to over 1 000 in 2021.

In his address, Mnangagwa was conspicuously silent on security sector indiscipline, saying government was working on improving their conditions of service.

"Government is alive to the need to constantly review the remuneration and conditions of service for the uniformed forces, alongside those of the rest of the civil service," Mnangagwa said.

"In an effort to improve the welfare of ZDF [Zimbabwe Defence Forces] members, government has reinstated the Military Salary Concept and is also working on improving the transport and accommodation situation for the defence forces. To date, buses have been provided to the ZDF and more will be disbursed in the future.

"With regards to the provision of institutional accommodation, the ZDF is in the process of constructing housing units for members across the country. During the period under review, the ZDF Construction Regiment completed 60 housing units at Dzivarasekwa."

In March this year, the ZDF General Court Martial sentenced three soldiers 15 years behind bars for armed robbery, theft and unlawful entry.

They committed the crimes between January and July 2021.

In another case, an on-duty soldier from the Zimbabwe National Army's elite Commando Regiment was identified as one of the alleged armed robbers involved in the fatal shootout at former top police detective Joseph Nemaisa's Chadcombe house on December 6 last year.

Critics blame the involvement of soldiers and police in armed robberies on a failing economy and poor remuneration.

However, security officials, who confided in NewsDay, said morale was low in the ZDF.

Yesterday, one soldier collapsed and another one tripped and fell down during military drills during commemorations held at the National Sports Stadium, and security officials attributed this to lack of physical fitness and mental strength needed during the drills.

"The truth is soldiers are demoralised by their welfare. Even their mental aptitude is being affected. It is a massive scandal, when two soldiers fall during a less than 30-minute display. A soldier's body is conditioned to (withstand) all types of weather," said the official.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe