THE Zanu-PF youth league has resolved to lobby the public service to only recruit party card-carrying members and graduates of the infamous Border Gezi programme as part of measures to counter demonstrations by disgruntled civil servants.
The call comes in the face of growing discontent in the civil service over poor salaries and working conditions, with teachers and nurses calling for a national shutdown on Monday to register their concerns.
The ruling party youths came short of labelling the striking civil servants unpatriotic.
“That the party enjoins the government to prioritise the employment of patriotic youths in order to curb the issues of industrial action by retrogressive members of the public service,” Zanu-PF youth secretary for legal affairs Phinias Makombe said as he presented the resolutions of their national youth conference held in Harare.
The ruling party youths also called for the resuscitation of the controversial National Youth Service (NYS) programme, and ensure only graduates of the abandoned programme are considered for employment in the civil service.
The NYS programme, launched by the late Youth minister Border Gezi in 2001, was introduced with the aim of drilling revolutionary and patriotic ideologies into the country’s young citizens.
But Zanu-PF was later accused of turning the graduates into a paramilitary militia used to harass political opponents.
The programme came under a barrage of attacks with some questioning why children of top government people never enrolled for the programme, while others condemned it as a Zanu-PF initiative to brainwash youths.
“To urge the government to accelerate restitution of compulsory national youth service and make a pre-qualification for enrolment into tertiary education and abortion for employment onto the public sector, with the purpose of inculcating values of patriotism, nationhood, voluntarisn, national ethos and discipline,” the youths declared.
The NYS proposal comes when Zanu-PF is accused of trying to silence dissent by railroading controversial laws such as the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill and the Patriotic Act.
“That the party should advocate for the enactment of the Patriotic Act,” Makombe added.
The youths also resolved that President Emmerson Mnangagwa be endorsed as the sole Zanu-PF presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections outside a party elective congress.
Mnangagwa, buoyed by the endorsement, told his supporters that Zanu-PF was unstoppable, and would cruise to victory in the 2023 general elections.
“You are the vanguard of the party. You are the eyes and ears of the party, stay vigilant…our party should remain safe in your hands. Go and tell people that Zanu-PF is unstoppable and we are going to win the elections,” Mnangagwa said.
Meanwhile, a new youth league executive was elected at the conference.
Masvingo youth chairperson and Gutu West MP John Paradza is the new deputy youth secretary with Tendai Chiwetu as secretary for administration, Tsungai Makumbe (political commissar) and Garikai Zonde (secretary for finance) were among others elected to the youth executive.
Mnangagwa, as party leader, has the prerogative to handpick the youth secretary to replace Tendai Chirau who had acted in that capacity since November 2017.