Editorial: Now is not the time to hallucinate

IN these difficult times that offer no clear visuals of the hazy future, it would help us endure the relentless suffering if some among us took time to ponder their decisions first before rushing to make pronouncements which only serve to disoriented us even more.

NewsDay Comment

At the recently-concluded Zanu PF conference, the ruling party’s secretary for youth affairs, Pupurai Togarepi confidently said: “Your Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa), the youths have resolved that all civil servants (should) undergo the National Youth Service (training) so that they will be acquainted with government issues as well as patriotism.”

Cognisant of the fact that national service is a common practice across the globe, it is, however, difficult to support the Zanu PF youth’s alleged resolution given the disastrous past of the programme that bred a certain type of youth who became notorious for perpetrating violence against anyone opposed to the ruling party’s ideology.

A national youth service training informed by a common and palatable national ideology and consensus is not a bad idea at all.

But a youth training or civil service orientation training based on a purely political party ideology will not help Zimbabwe chart a clear future.

The programme’s past failure to go beyond the confines of the ruling party structures is good enough testimony that there is something fundamentally wrong with its overall objective. A 21st century is now completely different from the 20th century Zimbabwe, a period in which the ruling party appears stuck in terms of ideology.

It is a fact that Zimbabwe is currently a divided nation and the fact that former South African President Thabo Mbeki is now seized with the country’s unfortunate predicament speaks volumes.

Whatever informed the ruling party youths’ decision on the national service training obviously had little or nothing to do with the idea of uniting the country for a common future. It sounds more like Togarepi and his youths hope to indoctrinate the civil servants and nation in general with Zanu PF ideology.

The proposal is not surprising coming from Togarepi. What does one expect from a youth league fronted by a 55-year-old? We have known that a youth leader can be up to 35 years. What does Zimbabwe expect when older generations claim to represent the interests of youths when they can no longer understand issues affecting them?

National service for civil servants, or anyone else for that matter, will only find takers once the country is united and pulling in one direction. As it stands, the ruling party itself is so divided that it will be very difficult to successfully implement the national youth training programme.

Besides, what Togarepi is busy dreaming about will do little, if anything, to help ameliorate the current socio-economic and political crisis Zimbabwe is facing.

It will only serve to worsen the political tension in the country, given that the civil servants are not much of a happy lot at the moment as far as remuneration is concerned. In short, what Togarepi and colleagues are hallucinating over is the least of our worries at the moment. So they may as well keep their dreams to themselves because this is not the time to hallucinate.

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