Generals demand more cash from government

HARARE – In a fresh sign of military rule in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe's military Generals are whinging that the funds allocated to the military in the 2011 National Budget saying they will compromise its ability to fulfil its constitutional mandate.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti last week proposed US$194,67 million for the military.

Secretary for Defence Mr Martin Rushwaya said: "The situation is far from adequate, we have serious constraints.

"The defence forces should have modern equipment because if we have obsolete equipment then we are compromised and we will not be able to meet the country’s defence requirements."

The Acting Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Major-General Martin Chedondo, said they had a US$139 million debt to suppliers.

"We are unable to meet our contractual obligations to the tune of US$139 million and cannot get new equipment because we are said to be bad debtors.

"We are being reduced to an army of mere tribesmen and the meagre resources will hamper the ZNA from meet ing its constitutional requirements."

Maj-Gen Chedondo said a credible defence force was insurance for a nation and urged Treasury to allocate a further US$73 million to enable them to carry out their duties effectively.

Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri said the allocation was a far cry from what was required to maintain equipment.

"The AFZ is a highly technical organisation which owns assets worth more than three Government ministries combined.

"The money made available for aircraft is not enough to even buy one spare engine," he noted.

Of the US$194,67 budget, the ZNA got US$154,1 million while the AFZ was allocated US$29,8 million.

The money will be used for salaries, rations, uniforms and maintenance of equipment and infrastructure.