Lifeline For Chamisa As Zanu PF Backtracks On Presidential Age Limit
The ruling Zanu PF seems to be backtracking on its earlier move its two thirds majority in parliament to amend the constitution and increase the minimum age of presidential candidates to 50 with its legislators saying no such a decision has been made in the politburo or any formal organ of the party.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 9th session of parliament swearing in ceremony in the capital today, Member of Parliament for Mberengwa West constituency, Joram Gumbo said his party had not met to discuss on the alleged intentions to alter presidential age limit understood as a strategy to elbow out the 40 year old opposition leader, Chamisa from contesting in 2023 presidential elections.
“We have not set, I am a member of the politburo, we have not set to discuss or debate on about change of the constitution. If that should happen Zanu PF first of all has to meet as a party and then come with a resolution. The proposal will then be forwarded to parliament for debate then that will necessitate on the change or the amendment of the constitution. But as far as I’m concerned I think it’s just people trying to sell aspersions…” said Dr Gumbo.
Nyanga South Legislator, Supa Mandiwanzira weighed in saying the presidential age limit proposal remains a speculation and therefore nothing solid can be said about it, however, if it is brought before the parliament it will be looked at cautiously.
“But I know that anything that has to do with fundamental change to the provision of the constitution will come to parliament and we hope that whatever changes that are proposed will come to parliament then we assess based on the reasons behind,” said Mandiwanzira.
Meanwhile, MDC Alliance co-principal and Harare East constituency Tendai Biti had no kind words on the alleged proposal saying the idea to change presidential age limit to bar Chamisa from the political ring in future had its roots in the stolen election charging that it is a “terrible proposal from terrible people.”
“It’s a terrible idea from terrible people. You can only want to revisit the constitutional age because you lost the election and you are afraid of an individual that you are trying to keep out. So it’s a terrible unprecedented idea,
“This constitution was agreed in a referendum on the 15th of March 2013 by three million people. So no political party can just temper with it. It’s a sacrosanct document..we are going to fight tooth and nail…,” he said.
MDC Alliance Organising Secretary and Member of Parliament for Mkoba constituency weighed in describing the proposal as suicidal given that the demographic standings indicate to the majority of young people in this country.
“That is actually suicidal, we cannot talk of any change on presidential age limit. 40 years is the required age for one to be the president of this country therefore we cannot change that because the population of this country is made up of young generation,” he said.
When asked for a comment, war veterans Secretary General and Zanu PF politburo member Victor Matemadanda said his party operates on ideological basis and that he abides by the party’s ideological calls which for up to date has not said anything regarding changing the presidential age limit.
“I come from a political party that is based on ideology and my party has not told me that.”
Buhera South legislator, Joseph Chinotimba said the current presidential age limit enshrined in the constitution seeks no changes saying only maturity matters most for those who seek to represent people at both national and constituency level.
“There is nothing bad with the age limit in the current constitution, but what is important is maturity. There is nothing bad, a grade one pupil can think better than a form four pupil so there is nothing bad with age but maturity matters most,” said Chinotimba.