JAKARTA – Zimbabwe is in talks with Indonesia to buy weapons, sources said on Monday.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, a retired general who is also a health minister, arrived in Jakarta on Sunday to attend a May 18-19 water summit.
However, Chiwenga is spending almost a week in Indonesia to explore cooperation in the development of public health, health services and pharmaceutical industry.
Indonesian state media is also reporting that Zimbabwe is trying to buy arms from the Asian country.
State news agency ANTARA reported on Monday: “He will also visit the state-owned arms industry PT Pindad in Bandung to explore the possibility of buying weapons.”
Most Western countries, including the United States and the European Union, have banned the sale of lethal weapons to Zimbabwe due to human rights abuses.
PT Pindad sells a range of military weapons ranging from machine guns to armored vehicles to tanks.
Zimbabwe’s government says it is broke for failing to pay its workers decent wages amid an economic crisis that has led to runaway inflation and a collapse in health services.
A purchase of firearms will anger trade unions and the opposition, who accuse President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of not having the right priorities.
Zimbabwe is holding general elections in the second half of 2023 amid fears the regime plans to crack down on opponents to stay in power.
Soldiers shot dead 35 people and killed six in post-election violence in 2018.
- original report accessed via Kukurigo Updates