ALL of the country’s more than 10 controversial national youth service training centres have been closed due to lack of resources and food, sources said this week.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth and Gender had intend
ed to visit Border Gezi training camp but failed to do so since February as there were no new intakes this year. Sources said after the last intake last year, there had been no further inductions.
In an interview on Wednesday, the chairperson of the committee and Zanu PF Gutu South MP Shuvai Mahofa, confirmed that the camps had been closed but could not state the reasons. Mahofa said: “We cancelled our visit to Border Gezi because it is closed. We will now go to any other that they will open first.”
Asked when the camps would be opened, she said: “Why do you want that information? Ask the minister.”
The Minister of Youth Development and Employment Creation Ambrose Mutinhiri was not available for comment.
His deputy, Saviour Kasukuwere, said there were no problems adding that they would continue with vigour. But he was unable to give a date for their reopening.
“I do not have a date, but do you want to be enrolled there?” he asked.
The government created the national youth camps in 2001 to “instill a sense of patriotism” in youths as well as impart skills suitable for employment. However, the graduates commonly referred to as “Green bombers” have been brainwashed with a Zanu PF view of Zimbabwe’s history that vilifies the MDC and Western powers.
Military drills are said to constitute part of their training. The youths have been accused of being Zanu PF election campaign tools becoming one of the most serious violators of human rights. Some of their alleged crimes include torture, rape, destruction of property, mounting illegal roadblocks and disrupting opposition rallies. National service in Zimbabwe is governed by the National Service Act of 1979 first enacted in 1976 by the Ian Smith regime as a means of providing forced recruitment for its war effort.
After Independence the government abandoned the project only to resuscitate it after nearly losing to the MDC in the disputed 2000 election.