The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) on Wednesday expressed concern over the increased number of civilians wearing replicas of military uniforms and warned that those found wearing or selling such clothing would be arrested.
Army Director of Public Relations Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore said in a statement the concern also stemmed from the fact that the number of armed robberies committed by people wearing replica army uniforms had risen.
He said: “There are also cases of individuals who are bent on tarnishing the image of the ZNA. The ZNA will guard against the misuse and abuse of its uniforms or any apparel resembling them.”
Makotore said the wearing or selling of such replicas was unlawful.
Camouflage clothing has become big fashion in Zimbabwe among a variety of age groups, with a large number of young people reported to be wearing military-style uniform on Christmas Day.
Makotore said performing artists were also not allowed to wear army regalia during performances. He said the wearing of any army uniform or decorations for any stage, film or television production was an offence in terms of section 99(2) (c) of the Defence Act (Chapter 11:02).
Makotore emphasised that in cases where performances required military uniforms the artists should seek “authority from Army headquarters”. He said restrictions extended to badges, buttons, braids, ties and other insignia.
It is believed that popular Zimbabwean musician Jah Prayzah, who wears complete army regalia during his performances, might have inspired people to wear replica military uniforms.
Tensions have been bubbling since June when a ZNA soldier was jailed for an effective two years for assaulting a civilian in Harare for wearing a camouflaged T-shirt.
Magistrate Tendai Mahwe noted that wearing replicated military regalia had become rampant in the country, especially in Harare, and ordered Simbabrashe Sithole to serve time over his attack on Lloyd Kuzondishaya.
Now the army hopes its stern warning will persuade civilians who think it is “cool” to wear or sell clothes similar to military dress to fall in step.
– African News Agency (ANA)