At Nehanda Hall, youth mainly from surrounding farms and rural areas converged for a two day recruitment programme. Potential recruits holding grade seven certificates and above went through an oral selection on Saturday and then ran a 10 km race on Sunday.
“It is suspicious for the army to recruit potential soldiers in such a desperate way given that the country is awash with jobless Ordinary and Advanced Level school leavers,” said a resident, Joseph Musonza.
While the young people from the surrounding farms were enthusiastic about the recruitment, those who lived in town had reservations.
“Let Mugabe recruit his body guards. We would join the army in a new Zimbabwe after MDC gets into power next year. I would be proud to be a member of the defence forces in a democratic state, not under the current dictatorship. It would be against my conscience to prop up a dictatorship at the expense of the will of the people,” said a youth in his early 20s.
Soldiers spearheading the recruitment told potential recruits that the recruitment was routine and there was nothing suspicious about it.
“This is a people’s army and every youth should be proud of being a member of the defence forces. It is also normal that the army would conscript young blood into its ranks as old soldiers retire,” said a physical training soldier.
In the past, there were reports that soldiers and other defence force members were forced to vote Mugabe and Zanu (PF) under the watchful eye of their partisan superiors.Post published in: News