For years, Zimbabwe’s military, coerced by ZANU PF, has strayed from its constitutionally designated role as the guardian of the nation’s sovereignty and security. Instead, it has morphed into a tool of oppression, suppressing democratic change and trampling on citizens’ constitutional liberties, including the right to assemble. But ZANU PF’s grasp on power seems increasingly tenuous, as global events like the Arab Spring and recent political shifts elsewhere have shown that even well-armed militaries can’t hold back the tide of change forever.

People have limits, and a seemingly inconspicuous increase in military salaries can set off a chain of questions. Are the military the only ones suffering from rampant inflation? Who is responsible for this inflation that these salary hikes are trying to shield the military from? These questions shake the very foundation of ZANU PF’s power, making it far less reliable than it once was.

The military has become ZANU PF’s fortress, shielding the ruling party from the consequences of years of human rights abuses, property rights violations, and corruption. The military’s influence has even infiltrated the captured courts, serving as an insurance policy against a potential change in power led by an opposition that’s committed to accountability and an independent judiciary that would restore looted assets to the people.

ZANU PF has tried various tactics, from military coercion to legislation like the so-called Patriotic Bill, media repression, and manipulating the legal system to suppress and dismantle the opposition. However, the opposition’s resilience and mature politics have kept it alive. The opposition’s strength reflects the people’s determination to weather the military’s repeated attempts to stifle their right to assemble and express their frustrations.

Furthermore, the military itself is feeling the pressure. Their sons and daughters attend public schools that have suffered from neglect, resulting in poor pass rates. As this pressure gradually increases, it may lead to sympathy among military members and their reluctance to support ZANU PF’s looting.

In addition, the military, despite receiving salary hikes, will realize that inflation continues to outpace their earnings. With Zimbabwe’s economy largely re-dollarized, there’s no real protection against inflation. Meanwhile, the same military is tasked with ensuring that uprisings don’t threaten ZANU PF’s grip on power. Paradoxically, these military members, who make up 90% of the armed forces, find themselves excluded from economic governance. They may come to the realization that they would be better off with the opposition in government, as it would address inflation directly and ensure their welfare doesn’t suffer from neglect, as it did during the government of national unity.

As global events have demonstrated, ZANU PF’s time in power appears to be running out. The military can’t indefinitely shield the ruling party or maintain the status quo. The resilient opposition will weather the storm, transition into power, restore the rule of law, and bring the military back to its constitutional mandate, rehabilitating it from a source of terror to a defender of national interests, all while ensuring servicemen enjoy world-standard welfare.

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