Chihuri collapses

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POLICE Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri collapsed in front of President Robert Mugabe yesterday causing panic among several Cabinet ministers, aides and thousands of people at a police graduation parade at Morris Depot in Harare.

MOSES MATENGA
STAFF REPORTER

Chihuri, a close Mugabe ally collapsed immediately after Mugabe’s 15-minute speech forcing aides and other senior police officials in the VIP tent into action before the police chief was stretchered off to a nearby waiting room for medical attention.

Chihuri apologised to Mugabe for the “mishap” soon after he was attended to by Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora, who is a medical doctor.

Immediately after the collapse, Chihuri’s deputy Godwin Matanga took over his seat next to Mugabe while his boss received first aid as several people jostled to catch a glimpse of what was taking place.

He only reappeared more than 30 minute later and accompanied Mugabe for a group photo with the recruits.

The police boss, who arrived with his wife, had accompanied Mugabe while inspecting the graduate parade for more than 30 minutes and stood while recruits marched past and showcased different skills.

In his speech, Mugabe warned those threatening to stage demonstrations that the “full wrath of the law” would catch up with them.

Mugabe, making his second public appearance after his trip to Singapore, appeared fit and calm telling the police graduates that they should ensure people live in harmony and thwart all forms of violence.

“We want to see our people living in harmony, regardless of their varied social or political inclinations. Of course, we may hold varying views on a number of issues, be they social or political,” Mugabe said.

“We may even differ in opinion, but that should never make us resort to the use of violence to settle our differences.”

In apparent reference to threats by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his party to stage demonstrations in protest over alleged Zanu PF misrule, Mugabe said they would be dealt with if they dared incite or engage in protests.

“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,” he said.

Tsvangirai has on several occasions told his supporters not to be afraid, but to take to the streets to protest the failure by the Zanu PF government to provide solutions to the country’s deepening economic crisis.

Mugabe warned senior government officials, parastatal bosses and local authority chiefs against engaging in corruption.

“It is sad to note that corruption continues to rear its ugly head among service institutions in the country thereby militating against our country’s economic and social development.

“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.”

To this end, Mugabe said Cabinet ministers had been assigned 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.

He said the police had 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”.

Several ministers, among them Senior Minister Simon Khaya Moyo and Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa attended the pass out parade of 651 recruits who underwent six months of training.