Block National Youth Service

Under Article 15.1 (a) of the Global Political Agreement signed between President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, “all youths regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion and political affiliation are
eligible to participate in the national youth training programme.”

 Sydney Chasi, the director of the Youth for Democracy in Zimbabwe (YIDEZ), told a press conference in Harare on Thursday that Kasukuwere personally informed him that he would be re-introducing the national youth service as it was enshrined in the GPA at least by June this year.

But Chasi said YIDEZ and other like-minded organisations were against the re-introduction of the national youth service, saying Zanu (PF would used it to achieve its own political ends.

He said in the past youths recruited under the scheme had been prone to sexual and physical abuse, let alone being used as
political tools to maim or kill Zanu (PF) perceived opponents.

“We are thus calling for the government to temporarily postpone the re-introduction of the National Youth Service programme and instead
utilise the transition period to put in place all mechanism and frameworks to ensure that the programme does not carry the negative
perception from the past,” said Chasi.

“As young people, we have learnt from other national processes currently underway and we understand that such a sensitive programme
cannot be effectively implemented by this fragile coalition government but only after a decisive free and fair election,” he said.

Okay Machisa, the director of ZimRights, said wide-sweeping reforms were needed from the current national youth service before it was
re- introduced.

Meanwhile Tsvangirai said it was saddening that teachers had been on the frontline of the past decade and half of economic collapse and
political strife.

In the run-up to presidential elections in 2008 scores of teachers were killed by state security agents and Zanu (PF) militia while
hundreds of others were forced to flee their posts due to political violence in rural areas. Some are doing menial jobs in neighboring
countries such as South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

But Tsvangirai said his MDC T would not allow this to happen during the lifespan of the coalition government.