PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday warned the country’s detractors sponsoring opposition parties to unleash violence on peace-loving Zimbabweans that the Government will not tolerate the “stupidly” organised protests. Speaking at a send-off ceremony for Zimbabwean students who are going to study in China under the Presidential Scholarship Programme at State House yesterday, the President warned the embattled opposition leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai against trying to unseat a constitutionally elected Government through violence.
The President called on Zimbabweans to remain calm and united against anti-democratic forces bent on reversing the economic fortunes of the country.
“Even if our economy is not doing well, do you have to go in the streets and even burn some of those very little shops that the people are depending on? Burn their cars in the streets, burn their shops, do you have to do that? To gain what? To gain power. And if you got power, you have burnt the streets, what will you do?
“Where is your starting point from the ashes? And if you take over after burning the streets and war, and those you have taken power from would also want to start burning. So burn me and I will burn you. What politics is that?,” he said.
Said President Mugabe: “It’s not us, what is happening in the Arab world is their problem we can’t bring it here. They are fighting against Americans, they want Islam to be more recognised than Christianity.
“Now some of us like Tsvangirai don’t understand this. They are saying what happened in the Arab world should also happen here, maybe it can put me in power. But we say aah, no they must not provoke us, we want peace.
“We want our people to live in peace, with our children going to school . . . that is what we want,” he said. President Mugabe said Government was committed to feeding its people despite experiencing the El-Nino induced drought in the 2015/16 rainy season.
He said disasters occur in countries and citizens should not blame Government if they occured, adding that the nation should not to be influenced by regime change agents. “Of course they tell us next season will be better we will have rains. We all have to work together because the drought is not man made. Sometimes it’s too much rain, floods.”
Turning to the Zimbabwean students, President Mugabe said the country’s foray into the Chinese universities spoke volumes of the respect Zimbabwe had for China’s education system which had catapulted the Asian country from an underdeveloped to a highly developed industrial one and the second largest economy in the world.
“It is even poised to become the largest economy in the world, thanks to its huge investment in human capital and technology. We wish to follow in China’s footsteps. “You are going to China with all our blessings, knowing quite well that you will be our good ambassadors. Remain disciplined and focused on your studies and you shall surely succeed,” he said.
President Mugabe thanked the sponsors of the scholarships, Chinese Company, The Qingdao Hengshun Zhongshen Group. Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister and executive director of the Presidential Scholarship Programme, Dr Christopher Mushohwe, said initially 50 students would benefit from the programme and the number would increase to 100 students per year.
“We have 14 students who are leaving for China from Mashonaland East, nine from Mashonaland Central, Manicaland seven, Mashonaland West six, Matabeleland South four, Masvingo four, Midlands three and Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Harare contributed one student each.
“The distribution is like that because the selection was done by professors from Ocean University. This was the outcome of the interviews,” he said. Hengshun Zhongshen Group vice president Mr Jian Chen said the Presidential Scholarship Programme, which was the wise decision of President Mugabe, offered an opportunity for aspiring young students from poor families to achieve their life changing dreams.
“Since its establishment, Hengshun Zhongshen has pursued the enterprise culture of gratefulness, and actively performs its social responsibility while seeking enterprise development.”
“So far, we have contributed funds to the construction of five primary schools in China, benefiting more than 2 000 underprivileged students. Our corporate culture is aligned with the spirit of President Mugabe’s Presidential Scholarship Programme,” he said. Mr Chen said each year his company would provide subsidies for 50 to 100 outstanding Zimbabwean students to study in China until graduation.