NATIONAL Youth Service (NYS) graduates, who are infamously regarded as Zanu PF youth militia, have demanded that 20% of all jobs in the civil service be reserved for them.
The call comes a few days after President Robert Mugabe told party supporters that the contentious NYS will be reintroduced and be compulsory to all ‘O’ Level graduates to instil discipline and moral uprightness among the youths.
Bernard Nhata, the NYS secretary for transport and welfare, said some graduates had yet to enjoy the promised after-graduation benefits like jobs and funding for their projects.
Nhata said a quota giving first preference for jobs in the civil service to NYS graduates was discontinued without explanation and should be reintroduced.
“We are happy that our lobby for the NYS to be reintroduced was successful,” he said.
“The welfare of the NYS graduates should be looked into as some of our comrades have no jobs and are suffering.
“The 20% quota for any job openings in the government for graduates that was discontinued should be reintroduced.”
Nhata said many of the youths who had attended the training were suffering because of joblessness.
“There was no explanation as to why it was discontinued and this left many of our colleagues without jobs,” he said.
“NYS graduates should be given first preference as was the case before and the government should provide funds for projects.”
Nhata dismissed allegations that the NYS programme was meant to politically indoctrinate youths, before saying the training should run for half-a-year, instead of just three months.
“The NYS students are taught about the liberation struggle and they are not forced to support Zanu PF,” he claimed.
“There was no sloganeering during our training.
“Supporting Zanu PF is a personal choice of any student.”
However, NYS leaders say they are an affiliate of Zanu PF.
The NYS programme was launched by late Youth minister Border Gezi in 2001 to “transform and empower youths for nation building through life skills training and leadership development”.
Human rights groups and opposition parties, however, accuse the government’s youth trainees, known as the “green bombers” because of their military style uniforms, of being at the forefront of political violence and intimidation.
The programme was discontinued due to lack of funding.