The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: President Gives Stern Warning On Violence

President Mugabe yesterday again warned anyone bent on organising illegal protests or inciting violence that they will face the full wrath of the law.

At a police pass-out parade at Morris Training Depot in Harare, the President said Zimbabwe was a peace-loving nation.

"We shall always cherish a strong and unwavering police force that ensures us of solid peace and tranquillity," he said.

"We are a nation that shuns violence. We want to see our people living in harmony, regardless of their varied inclinations.

"Of course, we may hold varying views on a number of issues, be they social or political. We may even differ in opinion, but that should never make us resort to the use of violence to settle our differences. I, therefore, warn all those who perpetrate violence, incite or engage in illegal protests that they should be prepared to face the full wrath of the law," President Mugabe said.

The warning comes on the backdrop of statements by MDC-T officials urging people to engage in illegal protests against Government following the opposition's heavy defeat to President Mugabe and Zanu-PF in the 2013 harmonised elections.

Mr Job Sikhaka has been at the forefront of such calls at both rallies and online platforms.

President Mugabe commended the security sector for its continued support for Government's empowerment programmes.

"Today, I am proud that the ZRP alongside other security agents, continue to support Government's people-oriented programmes," he said.

"As we continue to celebrate 34 years of our hard-won Independence, we remain mindful of the fact that this is of no significance if Zimbabweans are not in full control of their natural resources.

"I am, therefore, particularly gratified to note that the policing theme for this year, 'ZRP, for a safe transforming nation', encapsulates Government's commitment to empower its peaceful people."

President Mugabe said the Zim-Asset economic blueprint would result in an empowered society.

"It is our sincere conviction that the Zim-Asset will successfully lead to our country's economic turnaround," he said.

"To this end, our security and defence forces are, once again, expected to play a significant role in ensuring a conducive atmosphere for macro-economic growth."

President Mugabe reiterated that his Government would not tolerate corruption and urged the police to deal decisively with the scourge.

"Our people are denied timely quality services in Government ministries, parastatals, State enterprises and local authorities where corruption and other underhand dealings have become endemic," he said.

"To this end, we have assigned Cabinet ministers to take full responsibility of parastatals and State enterprises which fall under their portfolios, to ensure that those fingered in corrupt activities are brought to book.

"In this exercise, the ZRP have an onerous task of plucking out undesirable elements, including, if not beginning with those within their rank and file that are inclined to criminal propensities. Certainly, as a nation we must continue to relentlessly fight corruption."

President Mugabe said Government was aware of the ZRP's operational challenges and said they would continue with efforts to improve their conditions of service.

"We are, therefore, committed to continue supporting the ZRP efforts to fulfil the range of tasks assigned to it," he said.

"It is also the desire of Government to ensure that salaries of all its workers progressively match the poverty datum line and Government has since initiated the implementation of this pledge."

The 651 police officers who graduated yesterday included 273 women who all underwent a six-month course that covered the country's Constitution and political history, human rights and policing, police duties and investigations, criminal law, the Domestic Violence Act, public order management, weapons handling, drills, first aid, basic financial accounting, basic information communication and technology concepts, and local languages.

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