PRES­I­DENT LAMENTS VI­O­LENT PROTESTS

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Felex Share Nqo­bile Tshili

PRES­I­DENT Mu­gabe yes­ter­day called for unity and peace among Zim­bab­weans, say­ing vi­o­lent protests be­ing en­gi­neered by op­po­si­tion par­ties and shad­owy groups to sub­vert the Gov­ern­ment would fail.

Ad­dress­ing thou­sands of peo­ple gath­ered at the Na­tional He­roes’ Acre to cel­e­brate He­roes’ Day, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said a con­sti­tu­tion­ally-elected Gov­ern­ment could only be re­moved through demo­cratic elec­tions not Arab Spring-type protests.

He said while it was every­one’s con­sti­tu­tional right to hold demon­stra­tions, they should be done in a peace­ful man­ner.

“Let us re­main united in de­fence of our sovereignty, in de­fence of what our na­tional he­roes fought for,” Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said.

“We should re­main united, re­main cog­nisant of the fact that with­out unity we can­not make much progress. There will be di­vi­sions, quar­relling, fight­ing, vi­o­lence and that’s why things like protests don’t pay be­cause usu­ally they end up be­ing vi­o­lent protests. What ben­e­fit do you de­rive from con­duct­ing street protests, only to show that you are vi­o­lent? We don’t want that!”

He added: “If it is a po­lice sanc­tioned demon­stra­tion, let it be done in a peace­ful man­ner. If it’s a po­lit­i­cal party seek­ing rel­e­vance and recog­ni­tion, it’s al­lowed but for them to stone peo­ple and prop­erty, it’s not al­lowed. We don’t want that vi­o­lence. Join­ing hands to fo­ment chaos to ef­fect regime change as is be­ing done in some Arab coun­tries will never be tol­er­ated. Why not wait for elec­tions? You don’t want to wait for them. But that’s democ­racy! I heard Ts­van­gi­rai call­ing for a coali­tion to stage protests to top­ple the Gov­ern­ment. That shows that the op­po­si­tion have no con­fi­dence in their own elec­toral chances against Zanu-PF.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said Zanu-PF was a peo­ple-ori­ented party that would never be pushed out of power through vi­o­lent protests. “It’s true Zanu-PF is the peo­ple’s party,” he said. “It’s a party with strong roots, of which the roots are those ly­ing here and the blood that was shed dur­ing the war. These graves at­test to an im­por­tant part of our his­tory, that of the suf­fer­ing that the he­roes suf­fered fight­ing for the ma­jor­ity. Zim­babwe will never be a colony again and these are the words be­ing said by those ly­ing here.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe com­mended the coun­try’s se­cu­rity sec­tors for main­tain­ing law and or­der.

“When all is said and done, what’s im­por­tant is, in our cir­cum­stances we’ve peace, law and or­der and we praise our se­cu­rity forces for that,” he said.

“We praise them for the calm there has been, the peace there has been but we praise them also for ful­fill­ing in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions by sub­scrib­ing mem­bers to both re­gional and in­ter­na­tional peace sup­port op­er­a­tions. Thus, un­der the aus­pices of Sadc, African Union and United Na­tions our se­cu­rity forces con­tinue to raise the Zim­bab­wean flag high.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said to con­sol­i­date the sac­ri­fices made by the coun­try’s free­dom fighters, the Gov­ern­ment was im­ple­ment­ing var­i­ous strate­gies to boost eco­nomic per­for­mance and em­power peo­ple.

He said it was un­for­tu­nate that some mis­guided peo­ple were blam­ing the Gov­ern­ment for sanc­tions and weath­erin­duced chal­lenges such as El Nino.

“The Gov­ern­ment is not re­spon­si­ble for the rains but it tries by all means to en­sure no one starves,” he said.

“No mat­ter which po­lit­i­cal party you sup­port, you should get food. If the food is there, it’s your right to get it, But if it’s not enough, don’t say it is be­ing given to Zanu-PF mem­bers only sim­ply be­cause you be­long to MDC, Peo­ple First or Peo­ple Sec­ond. I as­sure you that no Zim­bab­wean will starve.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said the Gov­ern­ment’s Statu­tory In­stru­ment 64 of 2016 was there to stay as it was meant to pro­tect and re­sus­ci­tate the lo­cal in­dus­try.

He said the mea­sures, which would be re­viewed from time to time, would see the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor’s ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion re­main­ing sta­ble.

“Al­ready some no­table in­vest­ments have been made in edi­ble oils, milk pow­der, drinks and bev­er­ages and cloth­ing and footwear,” the Pres­i­dent said.

“Our peo­ple have been pro­duc­ing be it toma­toes but their prod­ucts were rot­ting be­cause peo­ple were im­port­ing cheap prod­ucts from South Africa. Goods are cheap there be­cause the Rand has been los­ing value against the United States dol­lar. That be­ing the case does it mean that our farm­ers should stop farm­ing?”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said re­forms be­ing im­ple­mented in the min­ing sec­tor were tar­geted at plug­ging leak­ages of the coun­try’s min­eral re­sources.

He said the health sec­tor con­tin­ued to re­ceive at­ten­tion from the Gov­ern­ment and de­vel­op­ment part­ners with 35 clin­ics be­ing com­pleted this year.

“The ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor on the other hand is mov­ing for­ward with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new cur­ricu­lum which will come into ef­fect in Jan­uary 2017,” he said.

“The new cur­ricu­lum re­sponds to the val­ues, knowl­edge and skills needs of learn­ers and the socio-eco­nomic re­quire­ments of the na­tion. In higher ed­u­ca­tion, it’s the in­ten­tion of the Gov­ern­ment that ev­ery prov­ince in Zim­bab­wean should have a State univer­sity, a poly­tech­nic and a teachers’ college.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said plans were at an ad­vanced stage to es­tab­lish a Women’s Mi­cro­fi­nance Bank to en­able women in min­ing, trade, agri­cul­ture, health and tourism to ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties.

He said the Gov­ern­ment val­ued the con­tri­bu­tions of civil ser­vants and would im­ple­ment pro­grammes to im­prove their wel­fare and con­di­tions of ser­vice.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said mea­sures to avoid de­lays in the pay­ment of civil ser­vants’ salaries were be­ing de­vel­oped. A PO­LICE base caught fire un­der un­clear cir­cum­stances in Bulawayo’s Emakhan­deni sub­urb yes­ter­day.

Na­tional po­lice spokesper­son Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Ny­athi con­firmed the in­ci­dent but cau­tioned against hasty con­clu­sions that the fire could have been caused by a petrol bomb.

He said po­lice were yet to con­clude in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

No one was in­jured in the in­ci­dent which is sus­pected to have oc­curred in the early hours of yes­ter­day morn­ing.

This fol­lows two at­tacks on po­lice bases in Bulawayo re­cently. Last month, a po­lice base was petrol-bombed in Mag­wegwe sub­urb but the fire was ex­tin­guished be­fore it could spread.

In Fe­bru­ary, a group of five dar­ing rob­bers struck at a po­lice base near Amakhosi Cul­tural Cen­tre where they at­tempted to sex­u­ally as­sault a fe­male cop.

Yes­ter­day, a Chron­i­cle news crew vis­ited the Emakhan­deni po­lice base and ob­served some of­fi­cers con­duct­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions. They told the news crew that they could not com­ment on the mat­ter, re­fer­ring ques­tions to the po­lice’s pub­lic re­la­tions office.

The news crew noted that the fire could have started from out­side the car­a­van that is used as the base.

Chief Supt Ny­athi said: “First, it’s pre­ma­ture to say the po­lice base was petrol-bombed. We’re still con­duct­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions but there’s a like­li­hood that our guys who were at the base could have used an elec­tric heater which caused the fire. We im­plore you, their the me­dia, not to draw con­clu­sions that it was petrol­bombed,” said Chief Supt Ny­athi.

He is­sued a stern warning that po­lice will stop at noth­ing to pro­tect their mem­bers from at­tack.

Chief Supt Ny­athi said mem­bers of the pub­lic should know that po­lice bases are there to pro­vide law en­force­ment ser­vices closer to com­mu­ni­ties.

“Po­lice bases are meant to bring po­lice ser­vices in places where the ac­tual po­lice sta­tions might be far away from the peo­ple. Mem­bers of the pub­lic only want po­lice ser­vices when they have been robbed or at­tacked. But when they’re not in need they for­get that they need us,” he said.

“I want to warn mem­bers of the pub­lic who might har­bour any in­ten­tions of at­tack­ing po­lice of­fi­cers. We will not stand by and watch when mis­guided peo­ple want to in­jure or tam­per with of­fi­cers. I want to warn them against do­ing things that may cause alarm and de­spon­dency in the ZRP and other State en­ti­ties.” — @nqot­shili.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe

Po­lice of­fi­cers take notes at the po­lice base which caught fire in Emakhan­deni, Bulawayo, yes­ter­day

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