In a development that could spell doom for the country’s security, it has emerged that Zimbabwe’s soldiers are wallowing in poverty and are having to make do with inadequate food rations and uniforms.

While making a presentation at the 2023 Parliament pre-budget seminar in Harare on Monday, Defence and War Veterans Affairs minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri blamed the sorry state of affairs in the army barracks on poor budgetary allocations.



Muchinguri-Kashiri implored authorities to ‘invest’ in the Defense Forces.

She said underfunding from the fiscus had negatively impacted the ability of the army to carry out its mandate, as allocations were failing to sustain soldiers’ welfare at the barracks.

Her remarks come despite the fact that successive national budgets since independence in 1980 have prioritised the Defence ministry which always receives the biggest chunk of the national cake.

“Let’s invest in our defence forces,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.

“My ministry is facing a lot of challenges, and we have inadequate accommodation to keep our forces in the barracks. If we are adequately provided for, I can assure the nation that we will keep ourselves in the barracks,” she added.

“What we see in the current situation is that our forces are renting accommodation in the townships, and they are often given names because of inadequate and indecent accommodation —let alone transport, which they also hire. They are insulted on a daily basis. They sometimes go without food and even uniforms, and these are constitutional requirements.

“Their food items have been reduced. Sometimes they have only sadza and beans. This is a serious situation we are faced with. My fear is that these are young people who sacrifice to create this conducive environment for us to enjoy peace. We appeal for funding from you,” she said.

On the other hand, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe said the situation was equally bad for the country’s police service.

He described “the police force situation (as) very desperate”.

“You should actually be thanking the police that we still have sanity and tranquillity in our country because of the situation these men and women are going through,” Kazembe-Kazembe said.

Weighing in, Zanu PF’s Buhera South legislator Joseph Chinotimba said the situation was a national security threat while Parliament’s Defence Committee chairperson Levi Mayihlome (Zanu PF) chipped in saying:

“The military salary concept should be approved. War veterans are languishing in poverty too. Government should ensure that law enforcement agents — soldiers and police — are paid and are accommodated well. Most police vehicles are grounded due to lack of spare parts. There is gross disgruntlement over the police transport allowances.”