An estimated 29 000 youth militia members loyal to ZANU PF are still on a government payroll and being listed as civil servants, it has emerged.
This came to light when Youth Development Minister Savior Kasukuwere, was quizzed by MDC parliamentarians on the use of the youths by government during the widely condemned and violent June presidential election run-offlast year.
A new dimension to the issue erupted with revelations that up to 14 000 youths are still being listed under the Public Service Ministry, while another 15 000 fall under the Women’s Affairs Ministry.
This brings the total number on the payroll to an astonishing 29 000. Kasukuwere’s answer in parliament was dismissed as unconvincing, after he claimed they were Youth Officers employed to work in different wards around the country.
With monthly allowances for civil servants pegged at US$100 it means nearly three million US dollars is being spent on paying youths whose only mandate was to terrorize opposition activists. This issue will present a challenging test for the new Minister of the Public Service, Professor Elphas
Mukonoweshuro, who is from the MDC.
Whether he will be able to deal with the matter will test the workability of the coalition government. It is understood that the problem has already been forwarded to the Prime Ministers.
Several years ago the ZANU PF regime set up the Border Gezi youth militia camps to train groups of youths in violence.
They were always deployed towards election time to beat up opposition supporters. Wearing their notorious green uniforms they essentially became a para-military force, maiming and killing MDC activists while claiming to be a national youth service promoting patriotism.
Many were later absorbed into the current police force.
Several other ministers are being questioned in parliament about their work. Joint Home Affairs Ministers Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa were quizzed on the use of torture by security forces and the abduction of activists.