Ministry seeks $10m for Green Bombers
INDIGENISATION and Economic Empowerment ministry permanent secretary, George Magosvongwe, has appealed to Parliament to push for a $10 million increase in budget allocation for use in revitalizing the National Youth Service.
Magosvongwe said this responding to a question raised by MP Kudzai Chipanga on how the programme which was popularized by the late Zanu PF political commissar, Border Gezi, was progressing.
The permanent secretary was appearing before the Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Parliament Portfolio Committee on Thursday.
“For us … it (youths programme) has been impeded by the absence of adequate resources,” he told the MPs.
“We have been running it but, in a sense, the numbers have been negligible. Recently we had a graduation of about 300 youths at Dadaya. We will not reintroduce but escalate the youth service if we get adequate resources.
“We are working on trying to raise the resources; this is why I said an additional $10 million would help us fulfil some of the programmes that are so central to the development of the young people. Unless we do that we can’t talk about development and stability,” added Magosvongwe.
Asked about the benefits of the programme by Justice Mayor Wadyajena, Magosvongwe seemed to struggle through his points. He claimed that the programme was critical in inducing a sense of patriotism, boosting youth participation in community development programmes and in community engagement.
Chipanga suggested that the ministry should try and consider decentralising the programme to allow youths to learn from their localities as a cost-cutting measure.
While acknowledging the idea, Magosvongwe said the ministry was also reorienting the programme to ensure that it incorporates skills training.
Wadyajena said the ministry will be called to parliament again to provide oral evidence on the “contentious” programme alone in the near future.
The National Youth Service programme is regarded by the opposition as a Zanu PF project aimed at training ruling party militia for deployment across the country. Known as the Green Bombers, the trained youths have often been accused of terrorising villagers towards, during and after the elections throughout Zimbabwe.