Parents hide children as youths forced to attend militia training

militiasWEDZA - Zanu (PF) is recruiting youths to start militia training at Igava farm.

The recruitment is spearheaded by a Zanu (PF) youth and Boarder Gezi Youth Training Centre graduate, Victor Mareverwa, of village 19 Dhirihori. He is one of the 10 000 notorious youths, employed by the former Zanu (PF) government as ward sport development officers.

Mareverwa popularly known as Border Gezi Recruiting Officer is registering local youths for what he described as imminent national youth training at Igava Country Club. The club house was converted into a grocery shop and shebeen, by war veterans who took over control of the farm during land seizures. Current tenants, have been given short notice to vacate and make way for the youth training programme, said a Zanu (PF) official privy to the militia training programme.

Locals interviewed at Dhirihori Business Centre where Mareverwa is based, confirmed the youth recruitment. They said the training would be conducted by soldiers.

Youths are promised they will join the army after completing the training and should consider themselves soldiers. We were ordered not to attend MDC rallies, as it is against the Defence Act for armed forces to attend political gatherings. This has resulted in MDC being dominated by old people, said one of the youths registered for the training.

Villagers are already living in fear as Zanu (PF) militia supported by suspected state security agents, terrorized MDC supporters in the run up to the June 27, 2008 presidential elections re-run. Bodies of assassinated people were dumped in nearby Wenimbe dam. Eighteen dead bodies were retrieved by police from the dam and fishermen continue to discover more human remains from the waters. Fear has gripped the community, said a villager on condition of anonymity.

Some villagers have transferred their teenage children to urban areas, to avoid the training. Parents fear for lives of their children, as Mareverwa is also listing names of those not willing to participate. Those identified to be MDC supporters are not spared the black-listing.

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