“My message today is for you to remain loyal to your country and jealously guard its independence, sovereignty and national resources. Remain wary of renewed subtle imperialistic efforts to dispossess us of our national resources,” Mugabe said in his address to about 10 000 people who attended the Defence Forces day at the National Sports Stadium.
Mugabe said members of the defence forces had not been adequately remunerated in the last decade.
“Ever since the turn of the millennium, our economic situation has been on the downward trend and the remuneration given to the defence forces has not been adequate,” Mugabe said.
“While efforts have been made to adequately provide for the defence forces, it is disheartening to note that their patriotic and professional conduct has in recent years not been adequately rewarded.”
Members of defence forces are currently receiving a salary of about US$ 170 dollars.
Mugabe said ‘given the paucity of resources many of us wonder what makes the Zimbabwe Defence Forces continue to tick.’
However, things took a knock in December 2008, at the height of the economic crisis in the country, when about 100 soldiers looted and beat up people in the central business district of Harare after failing to access cash in banks.
The military, which has been loyal to Mugabe since independence, has been accused of consolidating the 86 year old power since independence in 1980.