Zimbabwe National Youth Service

The National Youth Service is a programme of the Zimbabwean government for Zimbabweans of ages 18 to 35. It was introduced in the year 2000 by the late Minister for Gender, Youth and Employment Border Gezi. The graduates of the service were referred to generally as Green Bombers. Some of the graduates were employed by the government as security guards at government institutions such as tertiary colleges.

The programme was later discontinued in 2007 due to a lack of funding. [1]

In April 2021, cabinet approved the re-establishment of the National Youth Service Programme.[2] The re-establishment of the National Youth Service was proposed in 2017 by the president Robert Mugabe while celebrating his 93rd birthday in Matobo, Matabeleland South. Mugabe was later removed from power via a coup in November 2017 before the programme was re-introduced.

Background

The first training camp was established at Mount Darwin in 2001.[2]

Its stated purpose was to "transform and empower youths for nation-building through life skills training and leadership development."[3]

According to the United States Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010, the NYS, which was suspended in 2007 due to lack of funding, provided militia training to approximately 80 000 youths at more than 150 camps.[1]

Purpose

The service claimed to instil in young Zimbabweans a sense of national identity and patriotism. While it proposed to unite people above party lines, it also promoted wariness of "foreign influence and intervention" in national politics.[3] The opposing view, both inside Zimbabwe and abroad, held that the service indoctrinated its members with absolute loyalty to ZANU-PF and trained them for military operations to enforce its dominance.

Training centres

Conditions in the service training facilities were reported to include poor construction, frequent hunger and sexual abuse of girls and women.

Pictures

National Yout Service Officers with Mugabe Placard

Re-introduction in 2021

On 13 April 2021, the Ministry of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting announced that cabinet had approved the re-introduction of the National Youth Service programme.

Said the ministry at launch:

Cabinet approved the re-establishment of the National Youth Service Training Programme. The programme is a key strategy for youth empowerment in national, regional, continental & international development guiding frameworks to which Zimbabwe is a member.

Cabinet has approved the re-establishment of the National Youth Service Training Programme. The programme will involve community attachment of youths for work experience and service to various Government departments and local authorities.

The youth service is designed to equip youths, who compromise persons between the ages of 18 and 35 years with patriotism, discipline, volunteerism, survival skills, hard work, loyalty, tolerance, resilience, determination and honesty.

Under the revamped NYS programme, Vocational Training Centres across all the provinces will focus on Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Skills Training. This will encompass enterprise awareness, opportunity identification, project financing, and basic farming.

The roll out of the National Youth Service will involve community attachment of youths for work experience & service to various Government departments & local authorities. The programme will also take on board the disabled, & maintain gender balance & fair regional representation

Graduates of the National Youth Service Programme will qualify for further training, assistance in starting businesses and for enrollment for careers in the Police, Army, Airforce, nursing and teaching among others. The youths will be accorded allowances as the economy improves.[4]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Hazel Ndebele, Reviving storm-troopers Zanu PF’s ploy for 2018, Zimbabwe Independent, Retrieved: 13 April 2021
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nick Mangwana, Cabinet has approved the re-establishment of the National Youth Service Programme., Twitter, Retrieved: 31 April 2021
  3. 3.0 3.1 NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE PROGRAMME, NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE PROGRAMME, Retrieved: 13 April 2021
  4. Announcement of National Youth Service, Twitter, Retrieved: 13 April 2021