August 12, 2004

Defence Minster defends defence spending



Zimbabwe's defence minister has vowed not to cut military spending despite the economic crisis in the country. Zimbabwe needed to be prepared for external threats from those against its land reform programme, he said. "We are simply spending what is required for the defence forces and is always commensurate with the economy of the country," he said. He said the government did not need to seek authority from anybody to buy what was necessary for the military and refused to give details of military spending.

According to President Robert Mugabe, military spending would always be a priority to ensure that Zimbabwe's forces are able to confront "imperialistic efforts to destabilise the nation." "We should always maintain a high level of preparedness in order to safeguard our national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Mugabe said in a speech to mark the 24th anniversary of the creation of Zimbabwe's defence forces. We should... remain vigilant and wary of increasingly desperate and dangerous imperialistic efforts to destabilise our nation," he said. "Government will always continue to give priority to the defence forces training and equipment programme in order to ensure the existence of a credible defence system capable of defending the gains of our hard-won independence." The Zimbabwean military was active in the Democratic Republic of Congo where Mugabe deployed more than 10.000 troops to shore up government forces of assassinated leader Laurent Kabila and then his son Joseph, from 1998 to 2002. (AFP / The Herald, Harare)

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