Border Gezi Youth Training Back, Zhuwao

YOUTH and Indigenisation Minister Patrick Zhuwao has announced the
reintroduction of the controversial national youth service programme
adding, any youth who shunned the course was a “fool”.

Zhuwao said at a press briefing in Harare on Tuesday the programme
shall first target a group of 200 youths before being rolled out to
more trainees if the finance ministry avails more funding.

“The national youth service will be restored and we have been talking
directly with the national youth service association about alternative
ways in which we can finance the programme,” Zhuwao said, at a
briefing that was also attended by some youth service graduates who
included popular Sungura musician, Sulumani Chimbetu.

“The ministry of finance has given us an amount that would allow us to
only be able to train about 200.”

The so-called Border Gezi national youth training camps which were
introduced at the inception of a strong opposition in the country 2001
have been condemned as a Zanu PF indoctrination tool.

At some point, government tried to make it compulsory for school
leavers, something that was vehemently resisted by the opposition.

Zhuwao said the programme was necessary for every developing and
patriotic youth in the country but shall not be imposed on those not
interested.

“We don’t intend to make anything compulsory at the moment really,” he said.

“We are developing principles but we believe the national youth
service is a robust programme that anybody who really wants to be able
to move forward within this economy, will find it useful.

“It is not compulsory to drive but if you have a car it is advisable
to learn how to drive.”

Asked by the media how he intended to make it more appealing to those
opposed to the programme, Zhuwao was more scathing in his remarks.

“It is only a fool that chooses not to be educated, and I think it is
only the people that are given to foolish tendencies that would choose
not to be part of a programme that is aimed at, one, empowering you as
an individual and, two, enabling you to participate fully in your
country.

“Unfortunately, I am minister of youth indigenisation and economic
empowerment. I unfortunately don’t have the antidote to foolishness.”

The former Zvimba East MP said 80 000 youths have since gone through
the programme since inception.

He added: “The curriculum is anchored on discipline, patriotism,
entrepreneurship and volunteerism.

“The peace and security that we have here is as a result of the peace
building programme that has been run by the national youth service.”