PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has said Zimbabwe turned to China to beef up its military after threats of an invasion from Western countries at the height of the country’s economic crisis between 2008 and 2009.”
Speaking at the opening of a Chinese-built military training academy in Harare Friday, Mugabe said “hate-filled tactics” by the West have acted as a “wake-up call” for the country to strengthen its defense.
“We in Zimbabwe have received first-hand experience of the West’s hate-filled tactics, dating back to the year 2000,” he said.
“At the height of the economic crisis in 2008-2009, Zimbabweans temporarily adopted an alien culture of drawing knives against each other as unusual fights between brothers, sisters, uncles, nieces, husbands and wives became a common phenomenon.
“This explosion of negative forces and the generous sponsorship they received sought to effect regime change through civil disobedience. Indeed, the neo-colonial adventurism went to the extent of seeking a military invasion of Zimbabwe.
“Thus a strategic decision was taken by the government to establish an institution to conduct training on the formulation of a comprehensive national security strategy under the ambit of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. It is this strategic decision that culminated in the establishment of the National Defence College.”
Zimbabwe received a $98 million loan from China to build the sprawling complex. China wants the loan repaid over 13 years from diamonds being mined by Chinese companies in eastern Zimbabwe.
Mugabe said the new National Defence College would act as a “think tank” on security matters under threat from Western enemies.
Construction of the college began in 2010 and officials the facility would be turned into a fully-fledged university by 2015.