FORMER Child President, Nigel Ngoni Gwanzura has disclosed that leaders of the Zimbabwe Youth Council once attempted to coerce him to join the Central Intelligence Organisation, but he refused.
REPORT BY VENERANDA LANGA
Gwanzura, who completed his Advanced Level in 2011, also told NewsDay that junior parliamentarians were sometimes made to utter political statements against their wishes.
In an interview with NewsDay last week, Gwanzura said during his tenure as Child President in 2010 and 2011 he had been traumatised during the holidays when people perceived him as a Zanu PF supporter because of his portfolio.
Gwanzura also said ZYC leaders had given him false assurances that they would organise him a place at a South African university under the Presidential Scholarship Fund.
“We were given empty promises that we were going to be considered for the Presidential scholarship programme, but that never happened. Instead, when I went to enquire about my application to be considered at any South African University, they suggested that I join the CIO and I was shocked and refused,” he said.
“My parents ended up enrolling me at Bindura State University where I will study for a marketing degree. They also ended up paying for some of the suits I had to wear at functions as Child President. I would also spend three days per week in class while most of the time I was supposed to attend functions.”
Contacted for comment, ZYC Child Parliament coordinator Yolanda Washaya said the Junior Parliament was apolitical and only meant to train children to get exposure in leadership roles.
“They do not even get money for participating. They wear their uniforms at the Junior Parliament function and ZYC only sponsors the suit that is worn by the Child President on the day. On Presidential scholarships, if they excel, they benefit, but if they fail they cannot expect to benefit. The children are even given international exposure and most have travelled to countries like South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and New York,” Washaya said.