JAKARTA, Indonesia – Zimbabwe is in talks with Indonesia to buy arms, reports said on Monday.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, a retired army general, arrived in Jakarta on Sunday to attend a water summit which runs from May 18 to 19.
Chiwenga is spending nearly a week in Indonesia, however, to explore cooperation in the development of public health, health services, and pharmaceutical industry.
But Indonesia state media also reports that Zimbabwe is seeking to buy arms from the Asian country.
State news agency ANTARA news reported on Monday: “He will also visit the state-owned weaponry industry PT Pindad in Bandung to explore the possibility of arms purchase.”
Most western countries including the United States and European countries have banned the sale of lethal weapons to Zimbabwe over human rights abuses.
PT Pindad sells a range of military weapons from machine guns, armoured vehicles to tanks.
The Zimbabwe government says it is broke as it fails to pay decent wages to its workers amid an economic crisis that has sent inflation spiralling and collapsed health services.
An arms purchase will anger unions and the opposition who accuse President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of failing to get its priorities right.
Zimbabwe holds general elections in the second half of 2023 amid fears the regime plans to crack down on opponents to keep itself in power.
Soldiers shot 35 people, killing six, in post-election violence in 2018.