HARARE - Youths in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF want the return of the national youth service training programme so as to embed the right ideologies in youths.
The proposal is part of a raft of resolutions made at the 6th Zanu PF Youth Conference which ended yesterday.
“To recommend that government reintroduce the national youth service programme under an enabling act of Parliament as provided for in the Constitution, which must be compulsory and designed to expose youths to work experience, inculcate the right ideological values, instil discipline and empower and equip them to embark on programmes of value addition and beneficiation,” reads the resolution.
The national youth service programme, whose graduates were derogatorily dubbed the “Green Bombers” because of the colour of their uniforms, was launched by the late Youth minister Border Gezi in 2001 to “transform and empower youths for nation building through life skills training and leadership development”.
The programme was, however, discontinued due to lack of funding and after recruits had been widely accused by opposition parties of inciting political violence especially during election time. The government was accused of conscripting desperate and unemployed youths into its controversial national youth service and brainwashing them to become blind and violent zealots of the ruling Zanu PF party.
The government denied the charge, saying national youth service was vital to instil discipline and patriotism among youths. The youths want government to enact legislation making it mandatory for all school-leavers to undergo the programme before being enrolled in colleges and universities or being employed by State institutions.
The Zanu PF youths also resolved that party structures be set up in industrial areas and tertiary institutions, as a strategy to entrench its ideology.
“That party branches be established in tertiary institutions and industrial areas, with party activists in such areas being protected against discrimination, victimisation and intimidation,” read the resolutions.”
Senior party leadership should resolve their wrangles away from the glare of the media, the youths further urged.
“That senior party leadership should be compelled to resolve differences amicably and discouraged from issuing (sic) the media,” the resolutions say.
Top Zanu PF leadership have been launching salvos against each other in public forums.
The youths said the party should come up with measures to curb corruption within the party and within government and parastatals.
Government should speed up the land audit so that youths can be allocated idle land, Zanu PF youths added.
“To urge government to institute a system which fast tracks the land audit, while enabling access to underutilised land by youths for agricultural land residential purposes,” the youths resolved.