9 March 2008

Zimbabwe: Army Cuts Back On Recruitment

Bulawayo — The army has been forced to reduce its annual recruitment due to what is described as "perennial under-funding", it has been learnt.

Since independence in 1980, the army has recruited soldiers every three to four months but the frequency has been reduced to save scarce funds.

The cutbacks have been implemented despite a flood of desertions of soldiers fleeing low pay and deteriorating living conditions in the barracks.

Army spokesperson, Samuel Tsatsi confirmed the quarterly recruitments had been shelved over budgetary constraints.

According to army insiders, the quarterly recruitment exercises were eating into most of the army's budget.

They said on a number of occasions the army had failed to feed the recruits, some of whom had abandoned the rigorous training exercise midway.

Last year, the army lowered entry qualifications to cater for non-holders of the Ordinary Level Certificate, in an effort to lure more youths into the force.

"It is a huge and beneficial cost-cutting measure," said a source. "But it does not mean that all the recruits would join the army at the same time after the one-off recruitment exercise held across the country.

"Instead, the recruits will join the army on a quarterly basis as was the practice in the past."

The army is reportedly struggling to cope with massive resignations and desertions, and frequent recruitments are the only way to ensure adequate staff levels.

There are reports that non-commissioned officers formed the bulk of those leaving for greener pastures on a regular basis. The commissioned officers and war veterans are said to have remained loyal.

Soldiers can renew their contracts after three, seven and 10 years respectively but due to the poor working conditions, many are opting out before they even complete a year in service.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2008 Zimbabwe Standard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.