PRESIDENT LAMENTS VIOLENT PROTESTS
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.
Police officers take notes at the police base which caught fire in Emakhandeni, Bulawayo, yesterday