Zimbabwe: Statement On the Re-Introduction of the National Youth Service

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We note with concern the re-introduction of the National Youth Service (NYS) without an attempt to overhaul its syllabus and implementation in light of its tainted record.

YFZ is for the emancipation of youths, but our organization will not condone the implementation of a program which glitters from the outside whilst in reality seeks to use young people to consolidate power for the ruling elite.

The sudden re-introduction of the NYS smacks as another strategy to perpetuate patronage relationships with beneficiaries playing loyalty politics for the ruling party to consolidate it's power.

YFZ is worried by the previous record set by the NYS and its timing when election season is around the corner brings back memories of the horrors of the past and atrocities committed by graduates of the program in the name of the ruling party.

As an advocate of youth empowerment, democracy and human rights, YFZ is worried by the sudden return of NYS without putting in place mechanisms to ensure it serves young people in letter and spirit and ameliorate traits of being used to coerce , abuse and intimidate people into voting for the ruling party especially in rural areas where most of the graduates will be attached.

Before it was stopped, the program had created ghost workers in the civil service bleeding an already struggling fiscus and YFZ would not want a repeat of the same and associated human rights abuses to be borne out of the NYS.

Whilst YFZ is for young people empowerment, we are against the use of youths to scuttle democracy , perpetuate human rights abuses and the use of NYS graduates as an extension of the ruling party.

It is in that vein that we call upon the government to put in place mechanisms that ensure the institution is a national one that serves the interest of the country as a whole. It must never be a partisan and national ethos must never be replaced by those of the ruling party.

An all stakeholder created curricula should be adopted and an independent body must be considered to run the institution to shield it against political parties interference.

Source: Youth Forum Zimbabwe

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