By Leopold Munhende
ONLY graduates from the recently re-introduced National Youth Service (NYS), also known as Green Bombers or Border Gezis, will be employed in Zimbabwe, a Zanu PF activist has sensationally claimed.
The claim was made by Kudzayi Mutisi during an online discussion Monday on the reintroduction of the controversial para-military youth training programme.
However, the training service has received widespread condemnation from various quarters who accuse the ruling Zanu PF government of intending to force the recruits into its ruthless electioneer agents especially in rural and farming communities in the comic ng 2023 elections.
Mutisi told participants during the discussion that in spite of the NYS being a voluntary exercise for the youths; however, by not joining it would be costly as it would render one unemployable.
“The NYS cannot be abused if everyone joins. So if you are in the opposition you should also be able to join the NYS and also participate. Please do not live in the past, live in the present,” he said.
“What I can tell you is, the NYS will be the gateway to employment in Zimbabwe, to employment in government whether in the civil service or military. And automatically it will become the gateway for employment in the private sector.
“This is because, whenever, you look for employment you will find they always look for experience and during your NYS you are actually gaining work experience depending on where you are placed and what you are participating in.
“Nobody is going to be forced to join the NYS. However, you are going to find that joining is beneficial and not joining is costly.”
Cabinet approved the return of the NYS programme last month following consultations with Youth Minister Kirsty Coventry and Ministry of Defence officials.
Announcing its return Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists the programme would equip the youths with a sense of patriotism and survival skills.
“The programme is designed to equip youths, who comprise persons between 18 and 35 years, with patriotism, discipline, volunteerism, survival skills, hard work, loyalty, tolerance, resilience, determination and honesty.”
The programme was initially introduced in the early 2000s by the now-late Youth Minister and Zanu PF political commissar Border Gezi as an orientation programme for youths.
However, the graduates, referred to as Green Bombers because of their green uniform were accused of unleashing violence on predominantly opposition party activists especially before, during and after elections.
But, the opposition MDC Alliance has condemned the re-introduction of the programme as a plot by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to prepare violent foot soldiers ahead of the 2023 elections.