Army recruitment irresponsible: MDC-T

Mnangagwa told Biti he had been restraining army generals who had threatened to confront the Finance Minister at his Harare offices over inadequate funding. He said he would let the generals loose if Biti refused to release money for the recruitment exercise and other operational expenses.

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But in a statement Tuesday, Biti’s MDC-T party said: “The statement by the Defence minister is in bad taste as it comes barely two weeks after the murder of Cephas Magura, the MDC-T Mudzi North chairman.

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“The country has already started recording an increase in cases of politically-motivated violence and we must rely on the likes of Mnangagwa, as senior a government official to denounce unruly behaviour.

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“The Defence minister must know that there are other means of solving challenges other than by threats and intimidation.”

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The party said there was no justification for the mooted army recruitment exercise at a time the government was struggling to pay soldiers already in services and other civil servants.

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“For Mnangagwa to demand $2,5 million for the employment of 5000 more soldiers at a time the majority of those who are already in service are getting less than the poverty datum line is irresponsible,” the MDC-T said.

“Mnangagwa should know better where money from Anjin is going as the mining giant is staffed by former security personnel of all ranks. There are even fears that proceeds from Anjin’s activities in Chiadzwa are being used to finance a parallel government in the country.

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The Defence Minister is reported to have demanded additional resources from Treasury, telling Biti that the situation in the barracks was increasingly desperate with soldiers running out of food.

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He warned that there was a risk of mutiny by soldiers and accused Biti of “compromising State security”.

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But Biti insisted that Treasury had no money because revenues promised from diamond sales had not been forthcoming.

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