NANGO charts way forward for Green Bombers

A review by Non Governmental Organizations has recommended that government depoliticize the National Youth Training Service and introduce a curriculum penned by the ministries of education in order to ensure multi-sector acceptance of the programme.

Green bombers
Green bombers

Introduced in 2000 after the formation of the MDC, the NYTS espoused noble ideas such as instilling youth with a sense of national identity, self-reliance and discipline. But the programme was hijacked by Zanu (PF)to churn out a youth militia dedicated to furthering the aims and ambitions of the party. The ‘Green Bombers’ became feared and hated nation-wide because of their well-documented beating and rape of thousands of suspected MDC members.

Even after the abandonment of the programme, graduates are still causing mayhem in rural communities.

In its recommendations NANGO said that a multi-sectoral approach should be adopted where all sectors of society, including the private and civil society sectors, focus on and actively support the implementation of the NYSP. It should cut across the political divide and benefit all citizens.

Manipulation of the programme that resulted in it failing to live up to its noble ideals began with recruitment of trainees being done through district Zanu (PF) offices. The curriculum was perverted to discriminate against the political opposition and marginalized groups such women and those with disabilities.

In addition, the military was appointed to run the programme, which led to an unacceptable level of militarization.

“An independent commission should facilitate the delivery of the curriculum with guidance from the two ministries of education and input from young people and other stakeholders,” recommended the review.

NANGO also recommended the need for “mainstreaming and institutionalising the NYS and extending the ambit of youth and community service so that all young people, including the marginalised and other interest groups, have the opportunity to serve.”

The review tilted “Towards a New Zimbabwe: Sharing skills for dialogue on pro-poor policies”, brought together NANGO, the Institute of Development Studies and Progressio-Zimbabwe. The European Union supported the project financially.

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