Zimbabwe’s defence forces are facing a tough situation according to recent reports. Deputy Defence Minister Levi Mayihlome shared that morale is low within the ranks due to lack of proper funding.
Without sufficient resources, it has been challenging to adequately train soldiers, maintain equipment, and provide decent housing or wages.
Mayihlome explained they have been operating in “survival mode” for many years, unable to replenish stockpiles or modernize technology since the country’s independence over 40 years ago. Frequent deployments and aging gear have taken their toll with no replacement. Training sessions have also been disrupted or cut short when money runs out.
All this has understandably affected the troops’ morale. Low pay makes covering basic needs like rent or children’s schooling a struggle for many.
Some soldiers have felt compelled to turn to theft or illegal activities just to get by financially, according to recent court cases. This deteriorating situation apparently worries citizens and opposition groups that it could become a problem for the regime down the line if not addressed.
While urging the treasury to prioritize defense funding and improve conditions, Mayihlome proposed restarting a mortgage help program so personnel can attain more stable housing.
However, it seems the top military leaders continue enjoying privileges like luxury vehicles and properties, even as rank-and-file troops sometimes go without proper uniforms or footwear. With mounting deficits and economic woes, secure resourcing of national security may be an ongoing challenge. Hopefully productive dialog can find solutions to fairly support those serving the country in an important role.