19 September 2017

Zimbabwe: Border Gezi Youths Off to South Korea for Martial Arts Training

Photo: New Zimbabwe
Border Gezi youth militia (file photo).

ZANU PF party is sending the its notorious Green Bombers youths to South Korea for martial arts training, raising fears the ruling party is readying for a violent lead up to next year's elections.

At least 20 party youths from Mashonaland East who trained under the controversial state-run national youth training programme, are set to leave for South Korea next month for a three-week training in martial arts.

Two men in their early 20s, who recently completed their three-month training at Mount View Training Centre in Marondera, confirmed at the weekend that they would be part of the group of 20 Zanu PF youths from the province who will travel to Seoul, South Korea on 10 October for a rigorous three-week training in Taekwondo.

The national youth training programme popularly known as the Border Gezi training is run by the youth affairs ministry.

The late Border Gezi, introduced the programme in 2000 when he was the youth affairs minister, while Patrick Zhuwao, President Robert Mugabe's nephew, is the current youth affairs minister.

Meanwhile, the two men (names withheld) could not confirm whether the training in South Korea involved youths from other provinces or who was sponsoring the three-week visit.

"We have been informed by our instructors that we should prepare ourselves for further training in (South) Korea. We were told the training will mainly focus on Taekwondo," one of the youths said.

Revelations about the trip come at a time when a local human rights organisation, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), has warned of possible violence ahead of the 2018 watershed elections.

According ZPP, the youths will be used as the foot soldiers in unleashing violence.

"From January to August 2017, ZPP monitors have reported with concern an increase in the rise of ethnicity, hate speech, intra-party conflict, violence and desperation of masses with the economic situation in the country," ZPP said in a recent report.

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