The Minister of Defence and War Veteran affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri recently announced that funding has been availed to her ministry for the acquisition of drones which will patrol border posts.
The issue came up in Cabinet as Ministers were discussing the effect that our porous borders are having in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and how government would stop use of illegal entrances into the country.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri then explained that ZW$100 million has been availed to the Ministry of Defence in order for them to acquire drones which will man the border posts;
To deal with our porous borders, the good news is that we received some funds to secure drones to monitor our borders, but in terms of our COVID-19 budget we had applied for 500 million but we only received 100 million, the issue of manning borders is a security issue, and treasury should prioritise this so that our army will not be tempted to compromise
Though the ZW$100 million isn’t enough according to the Minister it will allow them to start some work so I guess that’s a positive.
My biggest frustration with these kind of declarations however is the fact that usually they are merely lip service. In early 2017, Obedingwa Mguni (now deceased) then Deputy Minister of Home Affairs announced that Drones were being acquired and those drones would patrol border posts;
We have implemented new technology. We are bringing in the drones that are able to fly, patrolling along the border post. We have an inter-ministerial committee which involves the ministry of Finance and other ministries like ministry of Mines. We are buying those machines so that they can fly there and we can see who is crossing so that we can search those people. Most of the drug carriers are using such areas.
Fast forward 3 and a half years the drones are nowhere to be seen. If Minister Muchinguri- Kashiri is being sincere and they are bringing in drones that’s fantastic but it this is another propaganda statement meant to excite tech nerds and ordinary Zimbos alike, then woe to the government.