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Zimbabwe: Government Panics Over Failure to Pay Military And Police

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Zimbabwe: Government Panics Over Failure to Pay Military And Police

Post  Admin on Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:21 pm

Tererai Karimakwenda


The government is reported to have run out of paper to print money and is believed to be panicking over how to pay salaries for civil servants, especially soldiers and police who are the backbone of the Mugabe dictatorship.

Giesecke & Devrient, the European company that was providing the paper, was last month pressured to cut supplies by the German government, after protests were threatened. In addition, a company that provides the software licences for the design and printing of the banknotes, is reported to be considering withdrawing their contract.


The military has helped run the country for some years now and the Mugabe regime needs to sustain military and police operations in order to maintain political control. There is much consensus among observers that Mugabe's recent decision to sign the Memorandum of Agreement with the two MDC formations was clearly based on increased economic pressure. One English pound this week is trading at Z$1.3 trillion.

The software for the notes, which is supplied by a Hungarian-Austrian company called Jura JSP, is reportedly very technical. The UK Guardian newspaper quoted a 'knowledgeable source' at the Zimbabwe government's Fidelity Printers, who said the software issue was a major problem and had created an air of panic. "They are in a panic because without the software they can't print anything," the source added.

Helmoed-Romer Heitman, the South Africa correspondent for Jane's Defence Weekly (a global military security publication) said the situation faced by the regime is quite typical of many African countries that are falling apart. He said the result tends to be at least violent demonstrations, if not a mutiny by the military.

"Given the current situation in Zimbabwe, I am inclined to think that a lot of the military, certainly middle ranking officers and some seniors, are not all that enamoured of the party that is running the show", said Heitman.

He said that for a long time now their income has not been keeping pace with the cost of living. They are also watching soldiers being misused politically, and a failure to pay them would seriously undermine the ability of the government to use the military to keep itself in place.


With experts estimating that the inflation rate is currently at 15 million per cent, and pressure on those doing business with the Mugabe regime increasing, the economy has proved to be the straw that finally broke the camel's back.


http://allafrica.com/stories/200807241050.html

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