Zimbabwe: Teachers Slam Govt Reintroduction of 'Youth Militia'

Teachers have met with condemnation, a recent government decision to reintroduce the controversial National Youth Service training programme often dismissed by opponents as a Zanu PF indoctrination exercise.

Speaking in separate interviews Wednesday, the educators slammed government for alleged lack of priority in terms of scarce national resource deployment.

The teachers feel the looming reintroduction of the training programme best suited Zanu PF's power retentions ambitions.

Government insists the programme was necessary in instilling discipline and patriotism among Zimbabwean youths.

Teachers accused government of insincerity.

"This is a clear sign that we have enough fiscal space to fund our social services. Unfortunately, the incumbent government is preoccupied with power retention and doesn't care much for the other pressing needs.

"The indoctrination agenda set to be pursued at National Youth Service should not be prioritised ahead of the health and education needs of our nation," said Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure.

Outspoken Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Ptuz) president Takavafira Zhou also accused Zanu PF politicians within government of being preoccupied with power retention.

"We certainly don't see its (training) efficacy to a nation that is failing to pay its teachers in particular and other workers in general and prioritise teachers and pupils' health and safety.

"It is clearly an indicator of how leaders prioritise the retention of political power at the expense of service delivery and self-sacrifice.

"It will drain the coffers of the state and has no traction to national development," Zhou said.

Zhou called on government to instead deploy the resources towards the provision of quality education.

"We urge government to invest in quality public education.

"The current 12.7% of total budget allocated to Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education falls far short of the Dakar framework of African agreement to allocate more than 22% of the total budget to Primary and Secondary Education.

"One would therefore have expected the government to put money it is wasting on the so-called national youth service to education that in essence is a vital cog of sustainable development," he said.

Opposition fears by reintroducing the national youth service training, Zanu PF was servicing its terror machinery ahead of the 2023 elections.

The programme was suspended in 2018.

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