THE government has assured troops that it is working tirelessly to improve their conditions of service, which have deteriorated over the years owing to poor economic conditions spawned by ruinous economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western powers.
Defence Minister 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 that they are 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 through pursuit of a dynamic programme of action to provide 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’ve got children,” he said.
“It’s quite 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’s an experience that is not good. It’s an experience, which in fact reduces the stature of the uniformed forces in the eyes of the general public.” He said soldiers have been seen pushing and shoving, together with civilians to board public transport.
“We’re, therefore, working hard so that this temporary setback that we’ve gone through is overcome and it becomes a thing of the past. It becomes an unfortunate history in the development of the ZDF, but I want to assure you that we’ll be doing as the government everything in our power to improve the conditions of service,” he said.
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’s 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’s need for a vibrant economy,” said Minister Sekeramayi.
He said the government was anxious to see the success of its 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.