The Voice investigations have revealed that the 2000 officers between the ranks of private and corporal across the country tendered their resignation letters the second week of July.
The disgruntled soldiers were acting in mass protest against low pay and lack of promotion, but the BDF top brass persuaded them to wait until the 1st of August 2013 in anticipation of promotions before they could throw in the towel.
The most affected units according to Voice investigations are the Commando Unit who mostly quit for greener pastures with the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) and the Ceremonial Guard Unit.
One of the soldiers who spoke to The Voice on condition of anonymity said, “We were verbally assured of promotion by the first of August and failure to do so will leave us with no option but to hand over the guns because there is no future in these lowest ranks.”
He complained that since he joined the army in 2000 at the rank of private, he has never been promoted.
“Some of my colleagues who were lucky to get promoted are now at the rank of Lance Corporal which is still not much of a promotion,” he revealed.
Some of the frustrated corporals who are threatening to quit are elderly men who served the army for more than three decades.
“It is evident they will die Sergeants if they are lucky to be promoted next week. Even the current Privates will not go beyond the Sergeant rank,” said a source from the army.
Asked to comment on the matter, Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Cooperation, Colonel Tebo Dikole said the number of soldiers resigning was “ small and insignificant.”
Dikole further revealed that the reasons for resignation varied amongst individuals and ranged from venturing into business to changing employment to pursuing further studies.
“Every member of the BDF has an option to resign or retire depending on his or her length of service, ” Dikole said and went on to dismiss allegations that the impending promotions are part of a retention strategy.
When asked if there will be promotions announced next week for sure and if so how many Dikole said: “Promotions are definitely coming but they won’t be 2 000. Just Watch the space.”