Cabinet recently approved the re-establishment of the National Youth Service, a programme which courted controversy in the past by training the troops of political violence, a force which came to be known as green bombers.

Meanwhile, in the years gone by for some, “Green Bombers,” clad in their trademark green fatigues and red or green berets with the Zimbabwean flag on their shirts, have become a common but fearsome sight.

The youth service is said to have been designed to equip youths, who comprise persons between the ages of 18 and 35 years with patriotism, discipline, volunteerism, survival skills, hard work, loyalty, tolerance, resilience, determination and honesty.

Apparently, the announcement has left Zimbabweans talking, some of them say the re-establishment of the NYS brings a sour taste having had allegedly suffered at the hands of the youth militias.

Meanwhile, former Zimbabwean Minister of Education, Sport, Arts & Culture David Coltart says “I have received a report alleging that the resuscitation of the Green Bombers was proposed by Kirsty Coventry.

“Would she please issue a statement in this regard. The Green Bombers have been responsible for serious human rights abuses and crimes against humanity in the past.”

Pastor Evan Mawarire of the #Thisflag bemoans the revival of the NYS.

“If this is true Kirsty Coventry that you are the one resuscitating the murderous ‘Green Bombers militia’ I cannot tell you how utterly disgusted I am. Do you have any idea at all what they did in this country? What a shame.”

However, ZANU PF has warned critics that they will not break Coventry. “To those targeting her, just know you will not break her,” said the party.

Africa’s most decorated Olympian Coventry is Zimbabwe’s Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.

The seven-time Olympic medal-winning swimmer was appointed to the 20-member cabinet by the President Emmerson Mnangawa, who won the last elections.

NYS, formed in 2002, the youth training programme was the brainchild of the late Border Gezi, who was then the ZANU-PF national commissar and Minister of Gender, Youth Development and Employment Creation, the ministry under which it falls.

Speaking on national television at one time, the then director of the youth training programme, David Munyoro, said the programme was meant to promote discipline among the youth.

Trainees were taught entrepreneurial skills such as carpentry, metal fabrication and building for purposes of self-help, however, it came to be known that ZANU PF was using the graduates as its foot soldiers tormenting critics.