Zanu PF offers youths freebies to attend Parly public hearings on ‘Green Bombers’

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By Darlington Gatsi

ZANU PF offered to ferry its youths on ‘an all-expenses paid trip’ to the ongoing Zimbabwe Agricultural Show (ZAS) in return for them making rehearsed and choreographed contributions at a public hearing by parliamentarians.

The Parliamentary Committee on Youth, Sports, Arts and Culture public hearing was held in Epworth Friday to discuss the reintroduction of the National Youth Service (NYS).

According to a source who spoke to on condition of anonymity, Zanu PF youths were promised food and free transport to the show if they submitted coached contributions during the meeting.

“First, we were asked to regurgitate coached submissions at the public hearing, and thereafter go to showgrounds,” said the youth.

“A ZUPCO bus has been organised specifically for us, but if they do not give us transport to the show and the food they promised us, we will boycott the next Zanu PF event. They cannot take us for fools.”

After the public hearings had adjourned, a ZUPCO bus was spotted ferrying the Zanu PF youths to the ZAS official opening ceremony graced by Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Eric Masisi of Botswana.

Meanwhile, the majority of the youths that attended the public hearings intermittently disrupted the proceedings.

ZANU PF activist Taurai Kandishaya threw a jab at the opposition calling for its leaders to be enrolled at the NYS.

“If the NYS is to be rolled out it should not cater for 35 and below. Older people who may be misbehaving like Job Sikhala should be enrolled. When Sikhala and Biti enrol we will then follow suit,” said Kandishaya

Some of the participants at the public hearings raised concern over NYS being used as a political weapon.

Government plans to revive the controversial NYS next year with 5 000 recruits expected to enrol.

The committee is on a nationwide public hearings prompted by a petition signed by non-governmental organisations and students, who are against the bounce back of NYS.

Opposition and civic society have raised concern over the youth service which was suspended in 2007 due to financial constraints.

The initiative by late Zanu PF stalwart, Border Gezi, wreaked havoc during the violent fast tracked land reform and thwarting opposition in rural areas.

Youth Minister, Kirsty Coventry promised to rebrand the NYS pledging it will be apolitical and the recruits will receive first preference for jobs in government.

In Bulawayo the hearings were abandoned after violence erupted and there was a weight of fear over the proceedings in Harare.