from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE is to reintroduce its divisive National Youth Service Programme.
Cabinet has approved the res-establishment of the exercise that was suspended in 2018.
While according to the government, the programme launched in 2000 is to inculcate patriotism and empower local youth, critics allege it is an appendage of the governing party to terrorise opponents particularly during elections.
“The programme is designed to equip youths, comprising persons between the ages of 18 and 35 years with patriotism, discipline, volunteerism, survival skills, hard work, loyalty, tolerance, resilience, determination and honesty,” said Monica Mutsvangwa, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister.
She said during training, the youths will be encouraged to participate in development projects and disaster response activities.
The minister said the roll-out of programme would involve community attachment of youths for work experience and service to state departments and local authorities.
Beneficiaries would be empowered to start businesses, enrolment for careers in the police, the army, the airforce, nursing and teaching, among other civil service careers.
The programme was introduced at the height of political and economic problems in the Southern African country.
The government of then-president, Robert Mugabe (now late), initiated the scheme.
– CAJ News