The National Youth Training Service programme had earlier been suspended due to viability challenges and the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) saw the parties agreeing that while it is desirable to have a training service for youth, this should be done in a non-partisan manner and should be free of political interference.
However, given the state of our economy, the Youth Forum views the re-introduction of the training service as an unnecessary burden on the country’s fiscus.
While the government is failing to meet some of the basic and necessary demands and needs of youth such as decent and affordable education, gainful employment and affordable health care, it is shocking that some people can prioritise the training service given its notoriety as a paramilitary wing of Zanu PF.
Its re-introduction is obviously an affront to the national healing, reconciliation and integration agenda.
While the Youth Forum has earlier called for a comprehensive reform and greater transparency concerning the running of these training centres, this has never been done, exposing the sinister motives behind the planned re-introduction.
The last time the centres were closed, there were media reports of hunger and starvation among the recruits, young girls were being raped and many infected with HIV as a result, while a lot more were ordered to commit heinous crimes on behalf of Zanu PF as the party sought to mitigate its waning political fortunes.
We urge the Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment ministry to seriously reconsider the introduction of the National Youth Training Service as a matter of urgency. This ministry has never really consulted the youth themselves on whether they want this training service. Furthermore the training service is not informed by the real needs and aspirations on the ground. We reiterate our calls that any training service should be done;
- In an open and transparent manner;
- Free of political interference and;
- Through a syllabus agreed by all stakeholders, critically the youth themselves.
The Youth Forum will launch a petition that will be taken to the Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment ministry, seeking to have this re-introduction halted until such a time when the above demands have been met and until such a time when our economy is stable enough to accommodate the training service.
Youth Forum Information and Publicity,