War veterans have called for a constitutional amendment to raise the Presidential age from the current 40 to 52 in a move widely seen as a ploy to block opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa from contesting elections in 2023.
Addressing a press conference in the capital today, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) Secretary General, Victor Matemadanda said they agreed to call on parliament to amend the constitution and raise the Presidential age limit to 52.
“..to 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 will be as follows; Council and MP- 18 years upwards, Senator- 40 years upwards, President- 52 years upwards
“This will make sure that anyone who contests for Presidency is mature enough to run the country,” said Matemadanda.
War Veterans further called on parliament to enact laws that criminalize anyone who calls for economic sanctions adding that anyone found guilty should be barred from contesting future polls.
“The ZNLWVA condemns all reactionary forces who go around the work asking for the extension of sanctions and call upon the conference to;
“(We)declare all who call for sanctions against Zimbabwe and who work against government efforts to resuscitate the economy as enemies of the station and nation of Zimbabwe
“(We) call upon conference to call on parliament to enact laws that cause an investigation and establishment of facts on people who call for sanctions and economic sabotage. If proved to be true, to make such people not eligible for election to district, provincial council, Member of Parliament, Senator and President position,” added Matemadanda.
Posting on Twitter, seasoned Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono blasted war veterans for losing focus at a time the country was battling an economic disaster.
“In a country emasculated by a myriad of economic disasters! The biggest issue on for War Veterans is to try and Stop Nelson Chamisa from contesting the Presidency in 2023?! What a pathetic narrative! Not even Robert Mugabe attempted that thoughtless move,” said Chin’ono.
Chamisa, who turned 40 this year, came close to upstaging the incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the July 30 Presidential elections and is seen as a major threat to the ruling party’s hold on power.
Chamisa insists that he garnered more than 2.6 million votes, though the Constitutional court dismissed his challenge with costs.