08 January 2006

Army Awarded 231% Salary Increase Ahead Of Planned Protests

Sorry for the lost leader, but the pay increases are for the Zimbabwe Army -- not the U.S. ZimDaily reports:
THE government of President Robert Mugabe has given pay increases of 231% to the army and instructed them to crush planned opposition protests, Zimdaily heard yesterday. The increase, made hardly two weeks after the opposition threatened to launch mass protests, have drawn accusations that Mugabe was paying off key groups with a critical role in the wider effort to keep Zanu PF in power. Sources in the Army Data Capture Unit at the KG6 Barracks told zimdaily that they were currently working on the soldiers' payslips. "They are getting a 231% increase across the board," the source said. "I understand there is likely to be another increase soon. "Zimdaily heard that a private in the 40 000 strong army is currently earning $3,5 million while a captain was earning $7 million and a Major $8 million. These figures exclude other allowances such as transport and housing. Zimdaily also heard that there were salary differentials based on the length of service.

The massive increase follows seething discontent among soldiers over poor salaries and working conditions. Military sources said before the raise, soldiers were increasingly unsettled by government’s refusal to increase their salaries and provide adequate food supplies to the 40000-strong army.

Disgruntled armed forces pose a serious threat to President Robert Mugabe’s regime, which depends on the state security apparatus — the army, the air force and the intelligence service — for its survival. Mugabe recently urged the armed forces to remain vigilant to deal with what he termed a “vicious imperialist onslaught”. Soldiers who spoke to zimdaily said the increase was still negligible as they were expecting a 500% increase.

Zimdaily heard the army commanders were battling to assure soldiers the situation would be attended to as soon as possible. It is said some troops have been detained at 2 Brigade barracks in Harare in connection with “indiscipline” related to agitation for salary increases. Sources said the soldiers were expected to be court-marshalled. Zimdaily understands that senior army commanders have been telling soldiers to channel their grievances through proper structures instead of engaging in “unruly campaigning” which could easily be interpreted as “mutiny”. Army spokesman Lt Col Aggrey Wushe declined comment on the salary adjustment and the revolt in the army.

He also denied there was unrest within the army's ranks ranks. Army commanders are traditionally loyal to Mugabe and generals occupy the upper echelons of parastatals and government posts. Mugabe has militarised government bureaucracy by deploying former soldiers to perform civilian duties. In the run-up to the disputed 2002 presidential election, army generals announced they would not accept an elected president without liberation struggle credentials — a reference to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. And more recently a Major General warned junior troops against supporting the opposition. The army was heavily involved in the controversial election, which was won by Mugabe.
Excellent story, but you must go to the link and scroll to the bottom for the real deal. ZimDaily also operates as somewhat of a message board / forum site. The posts in response to this article are fantastic. Something tells me that ZimDaily is not a government-sanctioned news agency.

Open Post thanks to The Mudville Gazette.

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