Mutiny Rife Among Mugabe's Soldiers
Mutiny is reportedly rife in President Mugabe’s army as the defence forces tether with the civilians in the decade long political and economic meltdown that has been characterized by crisis after crisis in almost every sector of the Zimbabwean economy.
A fortnight ago, underpaid Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) members countrywide have been on the rampage in different towns and cities, assaulting civilians and breaking into shops after they failed to get cash from banks.
First to set the pace were soldiers in army regalia from the Army Headquarters in the capital Harare who robbed illegal foreign currency dealers of their cash, assaulted unsuspecting civilians, and latter broke into shops and looted clothes and groceries.
Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi tried to do some damage control a day after, calling a press conference and assuring the nation those incidents would never happen again.
“Those were rogue elements within the force. Such an incident is regrettable and we apologize to the people for the damage caused. I would like to assure the nation that such incidents would never happen again, as those involved would be brought to book,” Sekeramayi said.
But that was not to be, as, three days latter, in the small town of Masvingo, South of Harare, other Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) members looted cell phones and foreign currency from money changers at Exor Service station, while they also grabbed beer cans from vendors at various shopping centers in town.
And as if the violence in Masvingo last Saturday was not enough, some soldiers in Gutu growth point, over the weekend followed suit.
Numbering more than fifty, the 4.2 Infantry Battalion-based forces stormed the growth point’s CBD latter in the night after they failed to get cash from banks.
Previously, soldiers in most towns were given unlimited cash access at banks, while the ordinary citizens were limited to the Reserve Bank’s gazeted paltry $100 million a week.
Highly placed sources within the army said there has been open insubordination with the ranks and files of the army, who are suffering while their commanders enjoy an elite life after being given lavish cars and houses three times this year by Mugabe.
“There is an open revolt within the force. It is now difficult to control these juniors. If you give them orders, they openly refuse. They no longer want to salute us, saying they have other pressing issues to attend to, like sourcing cash and basics in town,” said an army major within the ZNA.
Analysts say this is an open message to Mugabe-commander-in-chief of the ZDF-that his soldiers are tired of him but cannot openly revolt as they are restricted by the code of conduct which states that rebels would be executed.
Mugabe is in a four month-long aborted power sharing deal with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai in a bid to forge a political settlement that would end the country’s woes.
But the ageing leader is holding on to key Ministries like the Defence and Home Affairs-his cornerstones for survival-something which led the MDC to threaten opting out of the deal, with the international community calling for foreign intervention to remove Mugabe from power.
Tags: Mugabe , Zanu , Zimbabwe , Soldier , Mutiny
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