Mnangagwa relaunches ‘Green Bombers’

Source: Mnangagwa relaunches ‘Green Bombers’ –Newsday Zimbabwe

THE feared “Green Bombers” are back. President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday relaunched the National Youth Service (NYS) urging youths to embrace the controversial programme which he said was a continuation of the fight for youth emancipation.

Mnangagwa relaunched the programme at Nhakiwa in Uzumba, Mashonaland East province.

 

 

The programme had been suspended some years ago due to funding challenges.

At the time, it was criticised as a training ground for the feared and infamous Zanu PF youth brigades that became known as “Green Bombers” because of the colour of their paramilitary uniforms.

Government attempted to bring it back in 2021, but there was no funding with critics raising alarm that this was a Zanu PF campaign strategy ahead of last year’s disputed elections.

 

 

In Uzumba yesterday, Mnangagwa said the revival of the programme was historic.

“Many sons and daughters lost their lives during the fight against the brutal colonial rule of [Ian] Smith. We are independent because of our brothers and sisters who fought for our freedom,” Mnangagwa said.

“Now your duty as youth is to protect and guard our independence jealously. The youths of yesterday fought for our freedom. Now you must make them proud by working hard to develop our country.”

 

 

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga said the relaunch of the programme was long overdue.

“We are privileged as a country to have a leader who is determined to create innovations among the youth. Zimbabwe has made tremendous strides in prioritising investments in youth developments to unlock the potential of our youth,” Chiwenga said.

Youth Empowerment and Development minister, Tino Machakaire, pleaded with Mnangagwa to avail loans to the recruits upon completion of their training.

“Under your leadership our nation is in safe hands and the vision 2030 is certain. In the spirit of devolution we plead for the meaningful capacitation of youth to access loans. The youths service is one of the key pillars in Zimbabwe, one main thrust as a ministry is to develop and nurture our youths for progress,” he said.

The NYS training runs for six months.

The graduates have been promised automatic entrance in the civil service.

The programme was initially launched by the late Youth minister Border Gezi in 2001.

According to several human rights reports, the “green bombers” were responsible for electoral violence, including rape and murder of their victims who were mainly opposition MDC activists.

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