By Roy Chikara
Masvingo, October 2013 – President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party says it will soon revive the compulsory training of the infamous Border Gezi youth militia, a paramilitary group previously used to harass political foes in past elections, a senior official has said.
Addressing a youth meeting held Thursday at the Masvingo Town House, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister, retired army Major Mathius Tongofa said the program will be compulsory and resuscitated soon.
“We will soon resuscitate the program once we get funds,” Tongofa said.
He said the youth militia training centres were still intact and what had only stopped the programme was the recruitment.
“We had only stopped recruitment, but the centres are there and soon we will start recruitment for the program,” said Major Tongofa, who is the Chivi north Legislator.
The recruitment was stopped after MDC party formations that partnered Zanu PF in the coalition government complained about the program, saying it was propping Zanu PF in elections.
The youth militias were accused of raping and maiming suspected MDC party supporters while trainers were accused of sexually assaulting trainee girls.
Tongofa said the youth militia training under the national youth service will this time be taken to schools were young boys and girls will be recruited and indoctrinated with the Zanu PF ideology.
“We need to sensitise our youth the doctrine of our party and national pride. The coming of opposition parties has done injustice to our youth who are being influenced to be sellouts and facilitate the decolonisation of the country. So the training will mould our youths and shape them. The need to right mind and to know that this country came as a result of a protracted liberation war and we have to preserve that,” he said.
The move to reintroduce the youth militia could ignite fierce criticism and debate from the general public who feel that the national youth service training does not serve the interests of the country but Zanu PF’s interests.