Government has reportedly rejected — for the second time — a draft document by the Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Ministry seeking to re-introduce the National Youth Service (NYS) programme amid reports there are no funds to sustain it.
A senior ministry official told NewsDay the proposal was thrown out on Tuesday after it was tabled for debate by Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
This is the second time this year that Cabinet had to refer the draft document back to the ministry for further consultation.
In a separate interview on Wednesday, Kasukuwere’s deputy, Tongai Matutu, said the re-introduction of the NYS was ill-timed as the government was still experiencing budget constraints.
Matutu said NYS would be wholly efficient if there was a buy-in from youths across the political divide.
Recently, a Bulawayo-based youth pressure group, National Youth Development Trust, rapped Zanu PF officials for advocating for the urgent re-introduction of the youth service programme.
The pressure group said the calls were a ploy to intensify politically-motivated violence as had happened in the past.
“Before it was suspended in 2007, people came to associate the programme with violence and partisanship, so people are talking from history because they are aware that the trained youths were made to unleash violence on communities,” said Matutu.
Early this year, government announced an ambitious programme to train more than 300 000 youths annually at its training centres.
The initiative, according to the ministry’s draft concept paper, was meant to “train 300 000 people from pre-school-going age and those in and out of school, colleges and universities under the age of 35 annually”.