For the past decade the party has recruited unemployed youths for training at various national youth centres disparagingly referred to as “Border Gezi/Green Bomber bases”.
They are taught the Zanu (PF) version of history and to regard the whites and MDC parties as enemies of the state whose primary aim is to reverse the gains of independence. In return for elusive promises of unemployment, they are then sent out to beat and rape anyone perceived to support the MDC.
Many graduates of these centres have found that the programmes were nothing but a cheap political gimmick to use them during election time by intimidating people into voting for Zanu (PF).
“I graduated from Border Gezi Training Camp in 2005 and was promised a job at Arex where I was to be trained as a field officer despite the fact that I only passed two subjects at O’ Level. Our instructor promised us during training that the 5 O’ Level subjects requirements for one to be a formal civil servant did not apply to us since we belonged to the ruling party, which had the power to impose its youths in any department it deemed fit,” revealed a rank marshal at Mbare Musika, who refused to be named for fear of reprisal and a possible “assassination”.
“I waited for two years without any prospect of a job coming my way and I realized I had been taken for a ride despite my spirited zeal in participating in party activities – including torturing of opposition supporters.
“Lucky enough for me, I approached Zanu (PF) Harare provincial chairman Amos Midzi and told him my predicament at a meeting he held at Dombo Stopover in Epworth where he has ambitions to become MP for the area.
“I am heavily built and strong. Midzi invited me to his offices where he made me rank marshal at Mbare. Every day I collect close to $1000 and surrender half of the money at the accounts office at our party headquarters on Rotten Row. The money that goes to Harare City Council is paltry compared to what goes to Zanu (PF),” he said.
Sale of membership cards is a key function for the youths – especially in rural areas where it is a passport to many privileges.
The card provides immunity against bashing by the party’s violent youths; food and government subsidized inputs are only given to card holders, a move which some have previously thought was a way to coerce people into belonging to the party, but it has since emerged that it is a way of generating income.
The youths are now deployed at all bus termini and ranks around the country. Commuter omnibus operators pay for rank discs at city and town councils and also pay $1 to the party’s rank marshals each time they get into the rank to ferry people.
“It is painful to pay these dollars for every trip we make. Besides we have the VID which demands money for certificates of fitness of our vehicles and root permits. The police on the other side will be checking for overloading and licences and the fact that these Zanu (PF) thugs are also after us makes our jobs hard,” complained Trevor Masango, a kombi driver in Harare.
Zanu (PF) is also demanding $20 from car park owners every week. This is despite the fact that car parks are controlled by town and city councils who also demand a certain amount from the car park owners for doing business on council land.
Car park owners demand $1 for every car that is taken care of overnight. Most people in towns and cities prefer to leave their vehicles in the custody of the night watchmen at the car parks because thieves remove car radios and tyres as well as alternators from vehicles parked at home.
All these are desperate efforts to generate revenue by a party whose ruinous economic policies have seen the unemployment rate soaring to an estimated 90 percent.Post published in: News