Movement for Democratic Change (MDC Alliance) Vice President Tendai Biti has accused Mnangagwa of plotting violence in 2023 elections.
“The desperate regime presses yet another disparate note of discontent. They want violence in 2023. They want another genocide in Zimbabwe. They have an itch that needs scratching. Shame on them and their false gods,” Biti tweeted.
His sentiments were echoed by exiled former Zanu PF official Professor Jonathan Moyo who told a virtual discussion on the Gukurahundi massacres that the “Green Bombers” were “an instrument of violence” and that their mobilization was in “anticipation of 2023 elections.”
The Zimbabwean government is reintroducing its controversial National Youth Service programme which is notorious for producing violent militia in the early 2000s, raising fears the ruling party may be plotting a bloody general election in 2023.
Founded by the late youth minister Border Gezi in the year 2000, the programme has served as a platform for Zanu PF to indoctrinate young people and unleash them on opposition party supporters, especially during polls.
The “Green Bombers,” as they are derisively known, are accused of some of the most atrocious crimes committed during the late Robert Mugabe’s reign in the last 20 or so years, including rape as a political weapon, murder, torture, maiming, and burning down homes of mainly MDC members and ordinary people for not possessing a Zanu PF membership card.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a press briefing Tuesday that the programme was “crucial in nurturing young people into becoming responsible and resilient citizens with a clear sense of national identity and respect for national values.”
She said the proposal, adopted by the Cabinet, came as a result of consultations between the youth ministry and the defense and war veterans affairs department.
Like before, Mutsvangwa said the graduates would then be considered for assimilation into government departments, including the police and the military – the key instruments of State-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe.
“Graduates of the programme will qualify for further training, assistance in starting businesses, and for enrolment for careers in the police, the army, the air force, nursing, and teaching, among others,” Mutsvangwa added.