Former Minister of Indigenisation Chris Mushohwe announced that the â€œnewâ€ programme would place emphasis on economic education.
In the past, the youth training programme focused on political education and was designed to feed trainees with Zanu (PF) propaganda.Â The relaunch begs a lot of questions.
To start with, we do not understand why government has decided to re-establish the programme at a time when it is struggling to raise money to fund existing programmes. The major question is: Where will government get the money to run the NYS across the country? In any case, wouldnâ€™t the money, if at all it becomes available, be better used elsewhere? Government clinics and hospitals, for instance, are suffering – yet government sees it fit to re-launch these shady colleges.
It boggles the mind what value the youth training centres will add. From what Mushohwe said, the centres will be imparting trade skills to the youths. Dadaya, in particular, runs a poultry project, animal husbandry, horticulture gardening and is on course to open garment-making, construction,Â carpentry and metal fabrication courses. Noticeably, this is a duplication of what a host of technical colleges across the country are already offering to youths. What then will be different with the youth training centres?
Furthermore, there are intentions to include in the ministry of educationâ€™s school curricula a subject on national values. If this succeeds, it would be difficult to justify setting up the centres to do the same thing – in addition to teaching technical subjects. Our good guess is that these centres are being rejuvenated to train militias in preparation for the 2018 elections.
There cannot be any other reason. All that we have heard about the basis for bringing them back is nothing but a vain attempt by the Zanu (PF) government to whitewash the centres as valuable and relevant institutions.
News about these centres is frightful, considering what has happened in the past. Zanu (PF) recruited young men and women who were later unleashed on their fellow Zimbabweans who were considered to be enemies of the regime. As these youths murdered, looted, raped and plundered at will, it became clear that they had not been enrolled merely to teach them national values. And when they became irrelevant as militias, they were absorbed by various line ministries and public institutions. Most of them are paid for doing nothing and they account for a big number of ghost workers with which the civil service commission is today saddled.
The polls are less than three years away and we must be forgiven for fearing that Zanu (PF) once again intends to produce brigades of brainwashed youths to be unleashed on the population ahead of the elections. This fear is worsened by the fact that the ruling party is currently in a shambles and is likely to face a serious challenge from the opposition. True to its past tactics, it plans to use fear and intimidation to cow the electorate.Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga