Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government has reportedly awarded members of the security services a 22.5% "special allowances" rise, in a move seen by some as a way of "buying votes" ahead of the forthcoming crunch elections.
According to Daily News, a letter from the Defence Service Commission (DSC) chairperson Pretty Sunguro, to permanent secretary in the ministry of defence, Martin Rushwaya, said that members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) will get 22.5% special allowances.
The adjustments were with effect from July 1, the report said.
A report by NewsDay said the development had raised fears that the gesture could be a "vote-buying gimmick as it came a few weeks before the July 30 general elections".
Opposition parties described the move as "a payback to soldiers" after they helped facilitate Mnangagwa's rise to power last November, the report said.
At least 5.5 million Zimbabweans have registered to vote, according to eNCA.
The vote will pit Mnangagwa against a clutch of opponents, including 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance.
Mnangagwa has promised a "free and fair election".