“You are our God-chosen leader and we hereby stand by you and remind the EU (European Union) and its allies that they can rule the rest of the world but not Zimbabwe anymore. Long live Gushungo,” the recruits chanted in unison.
“We promise that we will spread the revolutionary gospel and as we prepare for the referendum and national elections, the environment will remain peaceful. Those bent on causing mayhem, be warned, the long arm of the law will catch up with you.”
Mugabe, who was the reviewing officer at the passout parade for 561 recruits at Morris Depot, however, urged them to be impartial as they went about their duties to maintain law and order. He told them to create an atmosphere that allowed Zimbabweans to freely vote for political parties and leaders of their choice. He described as “dirty minds” people that sought to tarnish the constitution-making process.
The recruits — 406 male and 155 female — sang pro-Zanu PF songs including those of the Mbare Chimurenga Choir and showered the veteran leader with praises.
Mugabe’s address was a gospel of peace and fair elections. He urged the police to operate within the confines of the law “in order to nurture congenial relations with the communities that you serve . . . you owe your existence to Zimbabwe and the Zimbabweans”.
“Our people do not only have the right to vote, but to do so in an enabling environment and I am quite confident that police will measure up to perpetrators of political violence,” he said.
“We are blessed as Zimbabweans to have the sense to promote and hold onto unity, brotherliness and oneness. As has been passed to us over generations, a divided house cannot stand and the police should be commended for ensuring that this stable, peaceful and tranquil environment is preserved.”
He also said he was aware of the difficulties under which the police force operated and promised government would do what it could to address the challenges.
“The government is working tirelessly to seek ways of funding police activities, as policing the world over is a very expensive enterprise,” he said. Finance minister Tendai Biti this week said thousands of people had been recruited into the army and police recently while government had no money to even feed them.
Turning to the constitution-making process, Mugabe said: “We are just now grappling with what should be the last steps towards our constitution. Yet, dirty local and foreign minds have been quick to tarnish this process. . .”