Statement by MDC Alliance Youth Assembly National Spokesperson Stephen Sarkozy Chuma on the revival of the National Youth Service (NYS).
The MDC Alliance Youth Assembly is deeply concerned about the news that MR Mnangagwa’s Cabinet has approved the re-establishment of the controversial, notorious “National Youth Service Programme.”
In the past, the National Youth Service became a reproduction machine for violent thugs for ZANU PF with neither skills nor a sense of genuine patriotism.
It is a matter of historical record that the green bombers’ as products of the National Youth Service program were trained as party militia who were unleashed on their very own parents ahead and post 2008 harmonised elections.
While the idea of a bona fide National Youth Service program is a noble one (as is the case in other parts of the world), it is the manner in which it has been done and abused in Zimbabwe in the past that makes it problematic.
We take particular with the way in which “national service” youths were used as instruments of terror in previous elections.
We cannot forget that life and limb were lost at hands of thugs churned out from a ZANU PF-controlled National Youth Service program.
Sadly, the people who were at the forefront of this kind of a National Youth Service that caused our people untold suffering during Robert Mugabe’s time, are the very same criminals who are now pushing for its reestablishment now.
The people know that Mr Mnangagwa is afraid of a peaceful, free and fair electoral contest against a popular and youthful Nelson Chamisa ahead of the 2023 showdown.
This is the reason for these desperate attempts to resuscitate a “National Youth Service” program to spread violence and intimidation as we head towards the polls.
It is also important to note that the idea of a re-establishment of the National Youth Service is being mooted at the same time the regime is pushing for the introduction of a Patriotie Bill to insulate Mnangagwa from scrutiny by citizens.
This is the latest strategy by Mr Mnangagwa to entrench his one-party stage agenda which he has relentlessly pursued using both lawfare and coercion.
As the MDC Alliance Youth Assembly, and indeed on behalf of the party, we place it on record that we are totally against the re-establishment of the National Youth Service program designed by a political party to pursue their parochial interests.
Under the People’s Agenda, we have said time and again that the best interests of the citizens and their freedom must lie at the centre of all proposed policies.
Violence and coercion are manifestly anti-people. There is no room for it in a democratic society.