In 2002, Zimbabwe introduced a youth training programme which yielded violent and uncouth young men and women.
At its inception, the late former President, Robert Mugabe claimed the programme was meant to empower the youth by training them in various skills while also promoting discipline.
It later turned out that the programme, named after the late Youth Minister, Border Gezi, was in fact a Zanu PF youth militia-training programme.
The youth who graduated from these camps were better known as Green Bombers because of their military green uniforms.
They were also feared as they were known to be violent, brutal and merciless, especially against members of the opposition.
During election periods, they were unleashed in opposition strongholds where they would terrorise the electorate, striking fear to deter thoughts of voting for the opposition.
The training camps were later abandoned due to lack of funding, much to the relief of the opposition and the general public who generally feared the ruthless Green Bombers.
Fast forward to this week, the government announced that the youth programme is back with a bang.
The revelation made by government spokesperson, Nick Mangwana on Tuesday was met with heavy criticism and scepticism, with most people adamant this was a clear preparation for the 2023 general elections.
“2023 apparatus being sharpened,” tweeted someone in reference to the fact the trained youth would once again be used to unleash terror on the opposition.
There is widespread belief that at the camps, the youth are taught how to torture, rape and kill.
And now the fear is that with the return of this programme, the next elections will be marred by violence as the ruling party continues to cling to power.
During Mugabe’s era, hundreds of opposition supporters were killed, raped and beaten, while others disappeared as a result of the deeds of these Green Bombers.
Now history seems set to repeat itself. Thy may be green, but their return marks a dark day for Zimbabwe.