New Zimbabwe.com

Budget headache for Mthuli Ncube as Green Bombers return

By Staff Reporter

FINANCE Minister Mthuli Ncube will have to scrap around for fresh un-budgeted funds after the ruling Zanu PF party resolved to resuscitate the reviled national youth service programme.

The development comes after the treasury chief had already presented his “austerity” budget for 2019, pledging to cut runaway government spending.

The ruling party confirmed revival of the youth programme in resolutions made at its17th annual conference which ended Saturday.

Read the resolution in part: “That the National Youth Service Programme be resumed in the first quarter of 2019.”

Zanu PF youths have in the past monopolised the programme which was blamed for the emergence of ghost workers on the government payroll.

Since taking over the reins from former predecessor Robert Mugabe lastNovember, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has anchored his reign on a tight leash on expenditure including cutting unnecessary travel as well as a symbolic five percent cut in his salary. 

However, political imperatives seem to be trumping the government’s commitment to its much-vaunted “austerity to prosperity” fiscal premise.

The ruling party made it clear Saturday that preparations for the 2023 general elections must begin in earnest, less than six months after another hotly contested plebiscite.

“All wings reaffirm Cde ED (Mnangagwa) as the sole candidate of the party in the 2023 elections,” reads the resolutions as outlined by out by Speaker of theNational Assembly Jacob Mudenda.

“The party (should) in 2019 commence restructuring of the party from cell to provincial level. This process to be prefaced by issuance of electronic membership cards.”

Zanu PF has been accused of using national youth service graduates – derisively known as Green Bombers – as political storm troopers in dirty tactics against the opposition including outright violence across the country.

The programme was discontinued during the Government of National Unity that brought together Zanu PF and the opposition MDCs following an inconclusive election in 2008.

And President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s push to bring them back sends ominous signals to his opponents ahead of the 2023 polls.

The development comes after the treasury chief had already presented his “austerity” budget for 2019, pledging to cut runaway government spending.

The ruling party confirmed revival of the youth programme in resolutions made at its17th annual conference which ended Saturday.

Read the resolution in part: “That the National Youth Service Programme be resumed in the first quarter of 2019.”

However, political imperatives seem to be trumping the government’s commitment to its much-vaunted “austerity to prosperity” fiscal premise.

The ruling party made it clear Saturday that preparations for the 2023 general elections must begin in earnest, less than six months after another hotly contested plebiscite.

“All wings reaffirm Cde ED (Mnangagwa) as the sole candidate of the party in the2023 elections,” reads the resolutions as outlined by out by Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda.

“The party (should) in 2019 commence restructuring of the party from cell to provincial level. This process to be prefaced by issuance of electronic membership cards.”

Zanu PF has been accused of using national youth service graduates – derisively known as Green Bombers – as political storm troopers in dirty tactics against the opposition including outright violence across the country.

The programme was discontinued during the Government of National Unity that brought together Zanu PF and the opposition MDCs following an inconclusive election in 2008.

And President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s push to bring them back sends ominous signals to his opponents ahead of the 2023 polls.