Chihuri collapses at parade

HARARE - Police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri collapsed yesterday moments after President Robert Mugabe had addressed a pass-out parade of 651 police graduates at Morris Training Depot in Harare.

Chihuri, 61, was quickly wheeled off on a stretcher bed, with his deputy Godwin Matanga standing in for him.

His dramatic collapse came at a time when the country is grappling with health scares on Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba and her deputy Paul Nyathi were not taking calls after attempts to inquire what had caused the police chief’s mysterious collapse, or whether he had been taken to hospital.

Chihuri, who joined the law enforcement agency at independence as a patrol officer, returned some 30 minutes later and took his seat, with proceedings forging ahead.

The police chief, who was next to the 90-year-old Mugabe, collapsed just before inspecting the graduating cops.

As Chihuri collapsed, Mugabe continued standing akimbo on the saluting dais.

Delegates craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the drama, as aides scurried to whisk him away.

Although his fall worried the multitudes, who had come to witness the graduation, Chihuri’s return was low key. He joined Mugabe after about 30 minutes and later posed for a group photo with the cycle patrol unit.

Upon his return, the police chief looked fine, walking with relative ease and unaided. He was stony faced, though.

A veteran ex-combatant who received his military training at Mgagao in Tanzania, Chihuri took over command of the police force from Henry Mukurazhizha in 1991 as acting commissioner and eventually became substantive police commissioner in 1993.

Mugabe promoted him to commissioner-general in 2008 and extended his tenure by four years and has been annually refreshing his term.

Mugabe, who arrived at the venue at 10am, in characteristic fashion, showed no signs of fatigue, finishing his address at 11.30 am after inspecting the graduates row by row and handing over certificates to outstanding officers.

In his address just before the collapse of the police chief, Mugabe bemoaned corruption in government and in the law enforcement agency, saying it militated against the nation’s economic and social development.

The veteran Zanu PF leader said he had assigned Cabinet ministers to take full responsibility of parastatals and State enterprises which fall under their respective portfolios, to ensure that corrupt individuals were brought to book.

He expressed concern that Zimbabweans were being denied timely quality service in government ministries, parastatals, State enterprises and local authorities where corruption and underhand dealings had become endemic.

The country desired a police force that is accountable to the people, he said.

“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,” Mugabe said.

The veteran nationalist threatened to quash any mass protests, saying organisers of such action would face the full wrath of the law.

“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,” Mugabe warned.

Mugabe reiterated the need for indigenous black Zimbabweans to take charge of the country’s natural resources, saying that was the only way to give meaning to political independence acquired in 1980.

He said government was set on an economic recovery path anchored on the economic blueprint Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-economic Transformation (ZimAsset).

“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 its pledge,” Mugabe said.

The pass-out parade was punctuated by superb marching drills by the energetic young officers, who were all too happy to showcase their nimble feet through unique quick march drills that entertained the crowd.

The graduates also took time to sing to Mugabe praises. 

Some of the “praise” songs included the ruling party’s liberation jingles Hwakanga hwanyanya hurombo tikazoronga kuti tiumbe Zanu, tivake Zimbabwe (It was because of excessive poverty that we formed Zanu) and “Baba VaMugabe havazombofa vakatsveta zvombo pasi (Mugabe will never surrender).”

Out of the 651 graduates who endured a rigorous six-month competence-based training programme, 378 were male and 273 females.

Part of the police training syllabus involves courses on the Constitution,  Zimbabwe’s political history, human rights and policing, police duties and investigations, criminal law, Domestic Violence Act, public order management, weapon handling, foot  and arms drills, among others.

Comments (12)

Comm-Gen Chihuri attributed his blackout to working long hours in recent times and a mix-up in the shoes he wore for the occasion. “I have been working overnight for quite some time. The situation has been exacerbated or worsened by the fact that there was a mix-up of my shoes. The right shoe was mixed up with the left one. The right shoe is a bit small and it is an old shoe so my toes were burning because of the tightness of the shoe and there was no circulation (of blood) in that leg that caused me to be dizzy and then fell down.

Zuruvi - 30 May 2014

“I want to apologise for this happening to my officers and to members of the ZRP what has happened and I sincerely apologise to them and I also apologise to my leadership, particularly the President and my Minister of Home Affairs for what has happened and to all of you. “I just want to say now finally those people who think the President is not fit they must now ask me because we were together, we went through the same paces and there he was, up and about up until now when something caught up with me so they must take care,” he said.

Zuruvi - 30 May 2014

How can you apologies for being ill or for having an ailment.

Zuruvi - 30 May 2014

Well,there is just no point in apologising for an illness. Chihuri please ,don't pretend you are made of steel. Even your boss has just come from Singapore for a medical check up. I hope he won't fire you, BUT being the cruel guy he is ,anything can happen. So next time be vigilant & never collapse again in his presence.

tamburai munyepi - 30 May 2014

and how can he (chihuri) promise that this will not happen again (his collapsing) as if he is God, TYPICAL 1984 Orwellian obsequiousness.

cde churucheminzwa - 30 May 2014

The Commissioner-General hasn't been looking healthy for some time. I'm not a doctor but you can tell. The man does not look fit at all. why not give him a ministerial post and promote someone who looks fit enough to be the face of our police service not police force.It is a shame. If people are sick they should go on sick leave instead of collapsing during such an occasion. Zvinonyadzisa izvi. All these years as police chief why not retire.Ndinofirapo chete. Why????

SHAVA - 30 May 2014

All the writers above said it loud and clear. I can't believe that a police general wears his shoes (the banana way) like a two year old baby. Word of advice to you Chihuri, " retire now and spend the remainder of your life relaxed, there are many who can do you job even better after you leave. Be wise cde.

Time Will Tell - 30 May 2014

Mabasa e whisky nemadzimai nekugarisa pabasa!!!!

Nhekairo - 31 May 2014

More pass-outs, more police officers and obviously more road blocks. Why this continuous recruitment? And with Nikuv as part of the election equation does the revolutionary part still need the vote of the police officers? Keep the police force lean and professional and then pay them handsomely.

Kufakwejeyi - 31 May 2014

These guyz they worked very hard and like any body they fall sick. We should just pray for Nathan Shamuyarira who is in a coma chete for his recovery

Bob - 31 May 2014

"Mr President sorry my foot,eeh eeh,my shoe actualy".kkkkkkkkkk !

the analyst - 31 May 2014

Anga arihwa ne chapomba! Haikona kunwa pabasa!

Changamire Dombo - 6 June 2014

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