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Zimbabwean Government Fears Labor Unrest May Spread To Army

The Harare government is said to be concerned that the recent wave of strikes could spread to the army and police. Security sources said members of the army and police are unhappy with their poor remuneration and with their working conditions.

A statement issued by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction of Morgan Tsvangirai said army troops and police officers are already on a go-slow.

Sources in the Zimbabwean security apparatus said senior army officers had sought a tenfold pay increase while the government has promised a 300% rise. The sources said the two institutions have been drained recently by numerous resignations.

Web news agency ZimOnline said Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi confirmed the high rate of attrition from the uniformed forces. Defense Minister Sydney Sekeremayi could not be reached for comment on the developments or the report.

Army sources said junior officers are most affected as the government has extended farming loans, equipment and luxury cars to top officials to ensure their loyalty.

State hospital doctors and power utility workers have gone on strike in recent days to enforce their demands for major pay increases to account for hyperinflation.

Researcher Chris Maroleng of the Institute For Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that not even the Zimbabwean security forces are immune to the severe economic crisis.

More reports from VOA' s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...