The government is reintroducing its controversial National Youth Service (NYS) programme after it was suspended in 2018.
It was first introduced in 2000 as a brainchild of the late former Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation Minister, Border Gezi.
The youths allegedly unleashed a reign of terror in rural areas, targeting opposition activists in the run-up to elections in the early 2000s.
The “Green Bombers,” as they are called due to their all-green uniforms, were accused of committing some of the most heinous of crimes against MDC members during the late Robert Mugabe’s reign.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa told a post Cabinet press briefing in Harare on Tuesday that the NYS initiative was important in nurturing young people into becoming responsible and resilient citizens. She said:
The programme is designed to equip youths, who comprise persons between the ages of 18 and 35 years with patriotism, discipline, volunteerism, survival skills, hard work, loyalty, tolerance, resilience, determination and honesty.
During training, the youths will be encouraged to participate in development projects and disaster response activities and thereby assist in enhancing national capacity to manage disasters.
Mutsvangwa added that the youths will be attached to various Government departments and local authorities. She said:
The roll-out of the National Youth Service Programme will involve community attachment of youths for work experience and service to various Government departments and local authorities.
Graduates of the programme will qualify for further training, assistance in starting businesses, and enrolment for careers in the police, the army, the airforce, nursing and teaching, among others.
The programme will also take on board the disabled and maintain gender balance and fair regional representation, with recruitment taking place through District Offices.