Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Government has assured members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces that it is working to improve their conditions of service, which have deteriorated over the years partly due to ruinous economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western powers. Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi said poor conditions of service for members of the ZDF compromised their dignity in the eyes of the public, hence the need to ensure they were improved.
He said this while addressing students of the Joint Command and Staff Course Number 29 on the country’s defence policy at the Zimbabwe Staff College.
Minister Sekeramayi said the Zimbabwe Defence Policy also focused on the enhancement of conditions of service including provision of decent accommodation, better salaries and transport facilities.
“I know that for now there are challenges. These facilities are not adequate but you can be sure that the Government is doing everything in its power to make sure that we have decent accommodation because members of the ZDF are now family members, mothers and fathers. They have got children,” he said.
“It is humiliating sometimes to find men and women in combat waiting for a lift, (or riding) at the back of a truck and so forth. It is an experience that is not good. It is an experience which in fact reduces the stature of the uniformed forces in the eyes of the general public.”
He said soldiers had been seen pushing and shoving, together with civilians, to board public transport.
“We are therefore working hard so that this temporary setback that we have gone through is overcome and it becomes a thing of the past. It becomes an unfortunate history in the development of ZDF. But I want to assure you that we will be doing as Government everything in our power to improve the conditions of service,” he said.
Minister Sekeramayi paid tribute to Zimbabweans whom he said, unlike other countries, have resisted the machinations by the United States and the European Union to revolt against their Government because of hardships spawned by illegal sanctions.
“It is common knowledge that a hungry man is an angry man and it goes without saying that in order for the country to be stable, there is need for a vibrant economy,” said Minister Sekeramayi.
He said Government had unveiled an economic blueprint, Zim-Asset to achieve sustainable development and social equity through indigenisation, empowerment and employment creation propelled by judicious exploitation of the country’s abundant human and natural resources.