Zimbabwe: Army Denies Taking Over Bulawayo

Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Philip Valerio Sibanda and Army Commander Lieutenant General Edzayi Chimonyo (file photo).
18 June 2020

The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has denied reports of its alleged takeover of the city of Bulawayo on Tuesday.

Reports claim that army and police personnel went around beating innocent citizens, looting shops and turning back non-governmental employees from the central business district as a way of protest against salary cuts.

But in a statement dated 17 June 2020, the ZNA refuted the claims saying there was never a salary cut soldiers.

"The Army has noted with grave concern the levels and rate of misinformation that continues to be peddled mostly by online news agencies... " reads part of the statement.

It adds, "The publications went on to proffer possible scenarios that could have led to the so-called takeover by theorizing that the soldiers were angry because of the pay cut. Note that there was no salary cuts to the soldiers or civil servants. The back pay was communicated when it commenced and it has always been public knowledge that it was going to end in May 2020."

The statement also dismissed reports that the uniformed forces went around beating ordinary citizens for no reason.

"The Army knows that there has always been an agenda to link members of the defence forces with negative issues as part of the calculated regime change agenda. All operations that the Army carries out are sanctioned and in line with its Constitutional mandate which is to ensure the safety of the public and their property. In no circumstance does the Army go about beating innocent civilians as purported in the series of false stories on the so-called Bulawayo takeover," reads the statement.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube yesterday announced a 50% pay rise for civil servants with a US$ COVID-19 incentive.

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