Tuesday, 2 August 2022

YOUTHS REJECT NATIONAL SERVICE

YOUTH organisations say they do not want to partake in the National Youth Service (NYS) programme which they say is associated with lawlessness and terror.

The youths, who took part in the NYS earned the moniker “Green Bombers” after being turned into ruling Zanu PF party storm troopers and used in violent election campaigns. They went through mandatory military and rigorous Zanu PF ideology training.

Last month at a post-Cabinet media briefing by Information and Publicity minister Monica Mutsvangwa, government announced that the National Youth Service Policy Guiding Framework and National Youth Service Implementation Matrix: 2021-25 had been approved.

Mutsvangwa said it was aimed at instilling core values, which play an integral part in the moulding of a well-cultured and disciplined youth.

But during a Twitter discussion this week on Open Parly by the National Association of Youth Organisations (Nayo), an umbrella body of local youth organisations, Youth Decide Zimbabwe and other youth participants, said young people should not participate in the NYS if proper consultations were not done.

The Twitter dialogue discussed the issue of National Youth Service: A vehicle for nurturing youths or is it a terror training vehicle.

Nayo monitoring, evaluation, research and learning manager MacDonald Munyoro said: “As young people we question the consultations that happened between the Defence and the Ministry of Youth to decide on the re-introduction of such a programme in Zimbabwe.”

Munyoro said if communities were to be consulted over the issue, they would narrate how the NYS, implemented in 2000 and 2007, was negatively perceived as a programme that produced youths schooled in violence.

“The chain of violations they left is marked in the lives of Zimbabweans, and the motive of reintroducing them is questionable considering that the country is about to reach election time.

“When Cabinet, through the minister of Information, made a pronouncement that Cabinet had resolved to bring back the national youth service programme, this evoked a lot of emotions from the youths across the country because of what happened in the previous administration where there were violations of people’s lives, and where we encountered the worst human violations.”

Youth Decide Zimbabwe team leader Learnmore Munhangu added: “Whenever we hear of the NYS, what comes to mind is violence, terrorisation and intimidation of people.

“The time we heard that there were plans to re-introduce it, we were very shocked because we know the nature of the NYS.

“They were used to attack their brothers and sisters, even parents and the opposition. As young people, we are still shocked because we were never consulted, we feel like the government is trying to do something for itself on its own and call it the NYS.” Newsday

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