THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has spent millions of dollars on new trucks, buses and anti-riot equipment at a time the government is struggling financially amid threats of mass demonstrations by civic society groups and the opposition.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Among the vehicles were all-terrain troop-carrying trucks, water cannons and several trucks for public order maintenance.
Observers said the vehicles were a response to the MDC-T calls for massive demonstrations to pressure President Robert Mugabe’s regime to step down for failure to deliver on, among other promises, the 2,2 million jobs.
Mugabe, who was the reviewing officer at a police graduation parade of at least 698 recruits at the Morris Depot in Harare yesterday, commissioned the vehicles amid bootlicking from Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and his troops.
Mugabe later flew to Mali on an African Union mission.
Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi said the acquisition was meant to enhance peace and stability to ensure smooth implementation of the government’s economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Sustainable Economic Transmission.
“The 20 buses and 77 trucks were acquired through a local company to enhance police capacity in ensuring peace and tranquillity,” Mohadi said.
The total value of the vehicles was not given, but the occasion gave Chihuri and his officers an opportunity to praise-sing the 91-year-old leader.
“We would have loved you to say a few words, but I am told by your protocol team that you are pressed for time. It is depriving us the opportunity to have learnt from your wisdom,” Chihuri said.
“I wish to say that as an organisation, we are deeply indebted to your visionary leadership. This has infused in us zeal, zest and passion to strive to do more for our country and for our people. We are obliged to be faithful stewards of your vision as we draw from the well of your abundant wisdom bestowed upon you.”
Graduates and poets showered praises on Mugabe, describing him as “the father of Africa”, while others likened him to the biblical angel Gabriel who announced the birth of Jesus Christ in the Bible.
Chaplain General Jeremiah Doyce said: “We must make prayers and intercessions for our Kings. I am privileged that our president is here and I will pray for him. We pray that the same favour you granted to Noah, may it be found in your servant. Even as he goes out of the country and back, we speak your grace.”
Mugabe was to laugh after poets likened him to Angel Gabriel in a well-choreographed act where they said “excellency was in his genes” and “greatness was thrust upon you”.
“Excellency is in your genes, it was thrust upon you. The Gabriel in Zimbabwe is president, Gabriel in Africa is Sadc leader. There is a Gabriel leading the whole of Africa as AU chairman. Gabriel is one of the Angels sent to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ,” recited one of the officers before Mugabe commissioned the vehicles.
In his speech, Mugabe castigated corruption and abuse of authority by individuals and the police in general.