2 die in controversial Zim army recruitment drive - report

2016-11-26 07:16
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Mutare - It's a story that shows just how desperate Zimbabweans are for jobs - and sadly for two of them it ended in tragedy.

Around 6 000 youths turned out for an army recruitment exercise in the eastern city of Mutare last week. There were only 350 places on offer, according to the state-run Manica Post on Friday.

Two youths collapsed and died during a run along a highway that was part of the selection process, the paper said. 

This army recruitment drive is not confined to Mutare but is understood to be nationwide. The opposition MDC said in a statement last week that it was "appalled" by the move, alleging that Mugabe's Zanu-PF party was trying to build its "war arsenal" ahead of elections in 2018. 

It's unclear how new recruits - the opposition says there will be "thousands" of them - will be paid. The central bank insists that the new bond notes it is about to introduce are merely an export incentive and not intended to plug foreign currency shortages. But an exercise like this will fuel speculation that the authorities intend to print money to pay salaries, which will likely lead to hyperinflation and shortages as it did in 2008.

An estimated 80 to 90% of Zimbabweans work in the informal sector. Jobs in the formal sector are hard to come by.

Joel Muzvidziwa, a deputy army commander, told the Manica Post: "The young lives of Clayton Nhaitai and Jacob Nyakonda were lost at a time when they had made a noble choice to protect the nation."

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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