THE controversial national youth training centres, which were notorious for churning out the Border Gezi youth militia, are set to be revived as soon as the government secures funding to resuscitates the programme, Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment deputy minister retired major Mathius Tongofa has said.
Speaking on the side lines of a meeting with youths and the business community yesterday at the Masvingo Civic Centre, Tongofa said youths will not be able to access the National Youth Fund for kick starting small businesses without going through the national youth service.
“We will no longer be giving loans to youths who do not go for the national youth service as
well as vocational training,” he said.
“We had stopped recruiting for the national youth service, but we will resume soon once we get funding as well as finalise the legal document that will support it.”
The programme was halted after revelations of rampant sexual abuse of young girls at camps countrywide as well as the political indoctrination and militarisation of the youths infamously known as Green Bombers.
MDC formations voiced their concerns about the programme arguing that the national youth service had been transformed into training a Zanu PF youth militia used in elections to assault and intimidate political opponents, particularly in rural areas.
But Tongofa said the government had seen it fit to train youths before doling out loans as doing so was tantamount to putting the cart before the horse.
“We are no longer giving funds to youths who have no clue which line of business they want to venture into,” he said.
“We will give priority to those who would have undergone training because without doing that, we will be putting the money down the drain. Remember this is taxpayers’ money that we are talking about, so it should be used responsibly.”