Minister Ncube backs more military investment

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By Kingston Ndabatei

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has made a case for more investment in security at a time the country is searching for clues on how to emerge from its current economic abyss.

In his address to students from the Zimbabwe National Defence University’s Staff College Thursday, Ncube said security issues needed to be taken seriously.

“Security is an important service which not many people acknowledge. It is important to invest in security and support it,” Ncube said.

The country’s military is seen as key to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s continued hold on authority after the Zanu PF strongman muscled his way into power through a bloodless coup November 2017 with the assistance of the military.

Since the time, the army has been placed at the centre of public security in the country to a point of sometimes stampeding police out of their mandate, often with disastrous consequences.

Mnangagwa has also trusted the army for his own personal security, dumping the police which used to protect his predecessor, Robert Mugabe.

August last year, government unleashed armed soldiers on pro-opposition protesters who were angered by the delay in the announcement of election results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Six people were gunned down while dozens more were treated for gunshot wounds.

Last month, the military was also deployed to quell violent protests by civilians who were angered by a rise in fuel prices.

At least 12 were shot dead while dozens more were also left nursing gunshot wounds.

Observers say government’s apparent reliance in the military in the wake of growing public anger towards the Mnangagwa-led regime could motivate more expenditure towards military operations.