Zanu (PF)'s controversial War Vet in child soldier training to prop up Mnangagwa

Gutu – Zanu PF’s controversial veteran of the liberation war Jabulani Sibanda who is aligned to Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa's faction is being accused of child soldier training . Sibanda has however defended himself saying he is ‘only teaching the children to be patriotic’. He has ordered boys aged 12 and above to report at various bases in the district for training

The boys have been seen at different centres, marching,singing and toy-toying for about two and half hours every day.

“We are not going back because you don’t want us to train our children to become patriotic," he said. "Anyone who sees this programme in bad light is naïve in his or her thinking, this is a noble exercise that I think should be taken to every district in the country,” he said.

Parents in the area complained that the children were being withdrawn from lessons to attend the drills. Parents of children who are absent are ordered to explain the reason or face severe disciplinary action.

“Our children no longer have peace; they are being abused on daily basis. We have problems but we do not have someone to help us. We appealed to our chiefs but they remained mum on the issue,” said Zvapano Chirinda.

Parents in areas such as Chitsa, Guzha, Mutero, Maungwa and Magombedze said they were planning to hide or send their children away to stay with relatives in towns.

However, Chief Mawere said he was very disturbed. “I never agreed with Sibanda from the start. I am going to confront him and order him to stop what he is doing but my problem is that some of my colleagues are afraid to speak out,” he said.