Blackmail: Uniformed Forces Get Pay Rise On The Back Of Looting Threats

HARARE – The government has increased uniformed forces' allowances from US$ 100 to US$ 200 starting this month.\r\n

Zimbabwe National Army soldiers started receiving the new allowances on Wednesday at major banking halls. The Zimbabwe Republic Police are also expected to receive the new allowances on April 24.

Some officers stationed at Braeside Police Station in the capital, told RadioVOP that the new allowances had already been deposited into their bank accounts.

However, the banks have been struggling to pay out the new allowances owing to a severe shortage of foreign currency in the country.

Soldiers had threatened to revolt if their allowances were not reviewed.

In December last year, disgruntled low ranking soldiers, frustrated by delays in receiving their meagre salaries because of acute cash shortages, ran riot in the streets of Harare, looting shops and attacking illegal foreign currency dealers.

In addition to the allowances, the uniformed forces also receive salaries in local currency, which was however last week suspended until next year.

The civil servants started receiving allowances in hard currency in February following the formation of an inclusive government. The government is currently spending US$ 23 million a month on salaries for ministers and allowances for civil servants.

Welshman Ncube, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, told a meeting in Bulawayo recently that government was only raising US$ 30 million through taxes and other sources.

A remainder of only US$ 7 million was being used for national programmes.

The more than 70 ministers along with the civil servants are reportedly chewing up US$ 23 million, he said.