…move a strain on civilian-military relations
Former Zanu PF national political commissar and member of the once powerful G40 faction Saviour Kasukuwere attacked President Emmerson Mnangagwa for allegedly dividing citizens by his government’s decision to create subsidised basic commodities shops for the army.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube recently announced that soldiers will soon be buying subsidised goods from garrison shops that will be funded by a special tax levied on every other civil servant.
In a telephone interview with TellZim News, Kasukuwere, who is in self-imposed exile, warned that the plan will back-fire.
“What is the rationale really? All civil servants are equal and they should be treated as such. They are working for the country and no one is more special than the other.
“Zimbabweans have suffered enough and they should be rewarded for their toil. Civil servants are yearning for salary increments but their government is busy deducting their salaries.
“Mnangagwa has no decency at all and he lives large while his people suffer. He was presented with a golden opportunity to unite the country but he plundered it and killed those that challenged him,” said Kasukuwere.
In his announcement, Ncube said all civil servants except members of the military will be levied a 2.5 percent ‘garrison shop’ tax which will be channeled towards the revival grocery shops for the defense forces.
Many people have, however, criticised the move as part of desperate efforts by a failed government to pacify a restive military.
“This is what happens when the country is in the hands of a mafia. The mafia does not care about anyone else but themselves.
“They are very selfish and they would rather watch everyone die than let their interest get threatened. To them, Zimbabwe can burn just as long as they are enjoying. No one cares, this is the unfortunate situation that we find ourselves in,” said Kasukuwere.
He said President Mnangagwa was desperate to find ways of pacifying the army which he knew very well could show him the exit door anytime.
“The army is running the country. Mnangagwa is trying to save himself from sleeping with one eye open at night. We all know the role played by the army to propel Mnangagwa to where he is today so if he forgets the same people will kick him out.
“You have seen Mnangagwa using the army to crush dissent so it is only logical for him to make sure that his boys are happy,” said Kasukuwere.
The 2.5 percent ‘garrison tax’ will add to the two percent transactional tax and bank charges which already are a heavy burden on the poorly-remunerated government workers.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Dr Takavafira Zhou lashed out at Ncube’s latest policy announcement which he said was designed to worsen poverty in the country.
“For the Finance minister and the rest of cabinet to agree to tax civil servants 2.5 percent to set up shops that will sell subsidised commodities to members of the army is lunacy.
“The cabinet must be reminded that if they are so much interested in uplifting the image of the army, they must pay the army well so that they can buy from shops of their choice.
“Reducing soldiers to ridicule and subsidisation by civil servants is dangerous and a national security threat as it compromises the civilian-military relations,” said Zhou.