Armed forces hide ghost workers

via Armed forces hide ghost workers – The Zimbabwean 16.9.2015

The financially crippled government is spending millions of dollars to pay scores of junior and senior army officials who are continuing to receive salaries and other perks – despite not rendering any services to the state.

Sources in the Zimbabwe National Army told The Zimbabwean this week that several senior officials who were assigned to the army Commander’s pool to campaign for Zanu (PF) during the run up to the controversial 2008 and subsequent run-off elections are still to  revert back to their official  duties, almost six years after the elections.

Senior army officials from the ranks of lieutenant colonel and above were clandestinely deployed to rural and urban areas as well as to strategic institutions and organisations to campaign for Zanu (PF) in an operation coordinated by retired Air Vice Marshal Henry Muchena.

“There are a lot of ghost workers in the uniformed forces whose redundancy can be traced to the 2008 and 2013 elections. As I speak, these people who were assigned to campaign for Zanu (PF) are still on the army’s payroll and continue to receive other benefits like air time and luxury cars while they are doing nothing at their farms,” said a senior army official who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

Deceased generals
An officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel earns a monthly salary of more than $1 000 plus a host of other benefits. Army sources also allege that a selected group of  retired senior army soldiers with liberation war credentials continue to receive their pensions while at the same drawing monthly salaries from the government coffers under the obscure reserve force ticket.

“Some retired war veterans in the army have been drafted into the reserve force under unclear circumstances by generals.
The people are receiving their pensions while at the same time earning monthly salaries,” said another source who cited some examples of the senior army officers reportedly benefiting from this arrangement.

Apart from senior army officials continuing to fleece the government, scores of junior soldiers have been deployed to guard residential and private properties of retired and deceased generals and their spouses.

“While it terms of the army’s operations it is in order for junior soldiers to guard generals, it is an abuse for them to guard the private properties of retired and deceased generals.

We even have situations where junior soldiers are guarding the private properties of their relatives and small houses. All these soldiers are paid by the state,” said another senior army official.
The late army Commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe’s house in Cold Comfort is still guarded around the clock by armed soldiers, as is the house of retired ZNA general Mike Nyambuya in Mandara, Harare.

According to further investigations carried out by this newspaper, senior military personnel seconded to public institutions continue to double dip salaries from the government as well as from the financially bankrupt public institutions.

The government recently embarked on an enormous exercise to get rid of of an estimated 70 000 ghost workers on its payroll.
Youth service officers who were believed to be Zanu (PF) election campaign agents and community surveillance vanguards since 2009 have been the latest causalities of the exercise.