Govt fires 3 700 'Green Bombers'

HARARE – Government has cut loose 3 700 national youth service workers reinstated by former president Robert Mugabe in July after they had initially been fired by the ministry of Public Service.

The move is meant to slash the wage bill by dropping the unqualified youths.

“Cabinet decision to abolish the youth officer posts under the ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment and transfer the roles and function to the ward development coordinators in the ministry of Women, Gender and Community Development is being implemented with immediate effect,” Chinamasa said.

“This will rationalise the total youth officers and ward development coordinators establishment down by 3 739 from 7 269 to 3 530, translating to savings of $1, 6 million per month and $19, 3 million per annum,” Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said yesterday.

Chinamasa said 528 members of the Civil Service without the requisite qualifications in terms of Section 18(4) e (ii) of the Civil Service Regulations will be retired.

He said their retirement will entail payment of a severance package estimated at $8,7 million.

Chinamasa said savings will be realised progressively through identification of redundant staff, as ministries are combined and rationalised.

As part of its austerity measures, government had earlier this year terminated contracts of the youths — mostly drawn from the controversial national youth service (green bombers) — who worked as youth officers across the country and were used by the ruling party in previous elections to coerce villagers to vote for Mugabe.

Speaking at a youths interface rally in Chinhoyi in July, Mugabe, who was obviously charmed by the huge numbers that teemed to the event on a wintry day and heaped praises on the party’s secretary for youth, Kudzanai Chipanga, said his Cabinet never okayed the termination of the youths’ contracts.

“You are doing this good work and I hear that some youths who were working for government have been fired but we never heard about that.

“Our economy is recovering, is that the time we should be dismissing our youths? How can they say we have no money now . . . please reinstate those youths, we never, never agreed on that.

“The issue of firing those youths was never agreed. Where is the ministry of Finance and Labour, please stop it,” said Mugabe.