- Senior army commanders have told Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe that they are now afraid to review parades at army barracks as they risk being shot by mutinating soldiers and junior officers.
At a crisis meeting with President Mugabe on Thursday at the Defence Forces Headquarters army commanders told him there was growing indiscipline among the junior ranks.
"Army commanders are now afraid to review parades, saying junior solders are plotting to kill them, so they sought guidance from Mugabe who is their commander-in-chief," said a source at the headquarters.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Commander, Phillip Valerio Sibanda, Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) commander, Air Marshal Perrence Shiri, and his Number Two, Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena were reported to have attended the meeting.
ZDF Commander Chiwengwa is said to have pleaded with President Mugabe to sort out the welfare of members of the uniformed forces saying: "We are sitting on a time bomb." According to the source, "He told Mugabe that it would not be surprising if one was shot at while reviewing a parade."
Indiscipline was said to be particularly rampant among young officers who are disgruntled with the US$ 100 that they are being paid by the new coalition government.
Last year soldiers ran amok in the streets of Harare, looting shops to augment their salaries that had been eroded by hyper-inflation and beating members of the public indiscriminately.
The soldiers are aware that their senior officers live in the lap of luxury, thanks to the ruling Zanu (PF) party's patronage system which has given them farms, vehicles, equipment and unparalleled business opportunities – particularly in mining ventures at home and in Congo Kinshasa (DRC).
It was recommended that service firearms should be withdrawn from members of the security forces to limit the prospect of a mutiny.
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