Teachers’ unions have criticised the government for reviving the controversial National Youth Service (NYS) training programme at a time it has turned a deaf ear on their demands for a living wage.
Speaking in separate interviews with NewZimbabwe.com on Wednesday, both the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) and the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) slammed the government for its misplaced priorities.
ARTUZ president Obert Masaraure said the reintroduction of the training programme best suited Zanu PF’s power retentions ambitions. He said:
This is a clear sign that we have enough fiscal space to fund our social services. Unfortunately, the incumbent government is preoccupied with power retention and doesn’t care much for the other pressing needs.
The indoctrination agenda set to be pursued at National Youth Service should not be prioritised ahead of the health and education needs of our nation.
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou concurred with Masaraure and lambasted Zanu PF for focusing on consolidating its stranglehold on power instead of serving the people. Said Zhou:
We certainly don’t see its (training) efficacy to a nation that is failing to pay its teachers in particular and other workers in general and prioritise teachers and pupils’ health and safety.
It is clearly an indicator of how leaders prioritise the retention of political power at the expense of service delivery and self-sacrifice.
It will drain the coffers of the state and has no traction in national development.
The government announced on Tuesday that the NYS has been re-established with the goal being to instil discipline and patriotism among Zimbabwean youths.
The “Green Bombers,” as they are derisively known, are accused of committing egregious human rights violations during the last 20 years or so years of the late Robert Mugabe’s reign.
The youths allegedly committed murders, rape, torture, and burnt down homes of mainly MDC members and ordinary people for not possessing a Zanu PF membership card.