In November 2017, they became the darlings of the nation when they staged a bloodless coup to topple former President Robert Mugabe.
What a difference a few months make!
Fast forward to January 2019, people literally take cover at their sight as they continue to unleash terror, especially in the high-density suburbs of major towns.
It’s been more than a week since the violent protests over steep fuel prices.
At least 12 people were reportedly shot dead during the unrest.
Sadly, more are still dying at the hands of the armed soldiers while others are being maimed.
The soldiers are still out of the barracks, apparently searching for people who looted from shops during the riots.
Women are also being raped for reasons best known to the perpetrators.
Hearing the stories of torture and abuse sends shivers down the spine.
It really is hard to believe that such could happen in Zimbabwe in this day and age and that our leaders seem unconcerned by these reports.
In as much as they have condemned the soldiers’ behavior, their lack of action shows that indeed talk is cheap because no soldier has faced the wrath of the law for taking a life or for violating a woman.
A journalist was shot and killed in the line of duty while the soldier who pulled the trigger carries on with life as if nothing happened.
This week, two young men in Harare were also laid to rest after being beaten up and tortured by soldiers for allegedly taking part in the protests.
The sad part is that young males living in high-density locations are now all suspects as they are randomly picked up and accused of things they might not even be aware of.
What beats me though is why their commanders have not called them back to the barracks if indeed they are concerned about this behavior as they claim.
Surely it should only take a directive for these soldiers to go back to their bases just like it took a command for them to go to the streets.
Of course we know government’s intention is to instill fear in the masses should other protests be called in future.
But their plan will not work; people will still voice their anger and vent their frustrations at some point.
And judging by the way things are going of late, it won’t be long until we have another shutdown.
Fuel prices have gone up since the official announcement of a price hike and very soon both diesel and petrol will be selling for $4 (P40) per litre.
Time will tell if people will remain silent in the face of these ridiculous prices – reportedly the highest petrol prices in the world – while salaries remain unchanged.
By the way, doctors have also increased their consultation fees and are demanding payment in the US dollars. General practitioners now charge US$35 (P350) for initial consultation.
Medical aid has also been rendered useless as the shortfall will still ‘humble’ the patient.
At this rate, we might as well literally go back to the roots when one falls sick!