HARARE – War veterans yesterday moved a motion ahead of the Zanu PF annual national people’s conference to have the ruling party use its supermajority in Parliament to raise the minimum age for presidential aspirants from the current 40 years to 52.
Widely seen as targeted at MDC Alliance presidential candidate in the just-ended harmonised elections — 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa — who was beaten by a razor-thin margin by Zanu PF candidate President Emmerson Mnangagwa, this planned constitutional amendment will most certainly dent the youthful opposition leader’s presidential aspirations in the 2023 polls.
“(We) call upon the conference to ask Parliament to amend the age limit of those who can contest on the presidential election from the age of 40 to 52 so that ages for contesting (sic) will be as follows, council and MP, 18 years upwards, senator 40 years upwards, president 52 years upwards,” said the statement read by secretary-general of the influential Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) Victor Matemadanda.
He said the age limit has to be revised to ensure that people who contest the presidential elections are “mature enough to run the country.”
The war veterans said Zanu PF should also push amendments considering imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe economic sabotage and a third schedule offence, a crime that is so serious to such an extent that it is impossible to get bail at the lower courts.
“The ZNLWVA condemns all reactionary forces who go around the world asking for the extension of sanctions and call upon the conference declare all who call for sanctions against Zimbabwe and who work against government efforts to resuscitate the economy as enemies of State ..,” the statement said.
The war vets seem to also have been miffed by Chamisa’s Constitutional Court challenge that delayed Mnangagwa’s inauguration as they want the conference to “call upon Parliament to amend sections of the law dealing with the swearing-in of the president after elections to be soon after the announcement of results and allow those with queries to do after the swearing-in…”