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Zimbabweans Debate Youth Service Reform as Nation Moves Toward New Elections


Training at the so-called Border Gezi camps named for a deceased youth minister is said to have been halted - but reports say youth militia continue to be deployed ahead of the public outreach phase of constitutional revision

While Zimbabwe's unity government principals and their negotiators haggle over outstanding issues undermining power-sharing, others are urging reform of the national youth service program, which many say was hijacked by ZANU-PF and turned into a youth militia that was deeply implicated in 2008 political violence.

Training at the so-called Border Gezi camps named for a deceased youth minister is said to have been halted. But reports say youth militia continue to be deployed ahead of the public outreach phase of constitutional revision and some fear a resurgence of political violence.

ZANU-PF officials have dismissed such concerns.

For a closer look at youth program reform proposals, VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira sought the views of former education minister Fay Chung, chairwoman of the Envision Zimbabwe Women’s Trust, and ZANU-PF Youth League Secretary Lesley Ncube.

Chung, whose organization seeks to rehabilitate youth caught up in political violence, said youth provisions in the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing represent an opportunity for Zimbabwe to make sure that its youth are not politically exploited.

Ncube insisted that ZANU-PF has not deployed youth militia. He said all parties to the GPA are consulting on a new Zimbabwe National Youth Service.

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