The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has distanced itself from the activities of its wayward members who seek to supplement their salaries through means that are unprofessional and outside of the organisation’s mandate, TellZim News can report.
Responding to questions in the wake of the death of a soldier in an accident at old Croco Motors on January 10, ZNA spokesperson Col Overson Mugwisi said the duty of soldiers was to defend the country and not to indulge in unprofessional hustles.
“I have not received any complaint regarding the issue of our members who practice touting and I would have wanted you to identify those who are doing it for me. As you know, the duty of soldiers is to defend the country as per the mandate of ZNA,” said Mugwisi.
He said disciplinary action will be taken against members who are found to be breaking the guidelines of their professional duties in order to protect the reputation of the organisation.
Mugwisi, however, feigned ignorance of the death of Lance Corporal Mufaro Jongwe while doing touting work at old Croco Motors in Masvingo.
Jongwe, who was a well-known tout at the pick-up point, was helping to load a stationary Harare-bound Bercam bus when he was crushed by the same bus after he ran after it when it took off.
As the bus moved forward, Jongwe had reportedly hopped onto it but he missed his step twice and fell on the ground before the vehicle ran over his head.
The soldier, who is survived by a wife and two children, was buried on Monday, January 13, in Vuranda village of Chivi district.
“He was a fantastic colleague who had mastered the crude requirements of our work. He was a soldier, yes, but he suffered like the rest of us. The money that junior officers are getting is not enough so we can’t fault him for trying to find extra means to fend for his family,” said one distraught tout.
Many serving members of the army are openly practicing touting when they are outside of their professional work as part efforts to survive the harsh economic realities.