Soldiers Rewarded As Tsvangirai Urges Them To Stay Off Politics

Both leaders were giving messages to commemorate Defence Forces Day.

Mugabe said although resources were not yet available, soldiers’ salary and allowances hikes had already been approved.

Tsvangirai, who has in the past told by security forces heads that they would never salute him because he did not have war credentials, said soldiers must leave political leaders to address the challenges facing the country.

Most of Zimbabwe’s civil service earns about $250 a month.

“Conditions of service for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces remain an important and critical aspect that continues to be reviewed as and when resources are available,” said Mugabe at the National Sports Stadium.

Soldiers have been named by rights groups as one of the sources of political violence in the country that has resulted in the death of MDC supporters and ordinary people.

“The imposition of illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe by Britain, the European Union and their American allies is one such move that has sought to compromise the living standards of the people of Zimbabwe and subsequently destabilize the country,” said the 88 year old leader.

“These sinister manoeuvres were successfully resisted thanks to the combined effort, grit and resilience of the people of Zimbabwe, the defence forces, other law enforcement agencies and the country’s political leadership.”

“I have no doubt that the majority of our soldiers are professionals who respect and are sworn to upholding the country’s constitution,” said the MDC-T leader. “They are aware that politics leads the gun and not vice versa.”

The MDC-T leader also called for the broadening of the definition of national heroes to recognise Zimbabweans excelling in other areas outside politics.