Since the July 30 harmonised elections, there have been very worrying statements made by Zanu PF officials and apologists regarding the minimum age limit of presidential candidates.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa with a poll percentage of 50,6 narrowly beat the youthful MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, who garnered 44,3 percent.
Zanu PF were so much rattled by Chamisa’s performance in the polls and in a move to try and block the youthful leader from running for office again in 2023, they now want to raise the minimum age limit to 55 years.
Chamisa turned 40 in February this year and if this new legislation is passed, it would rule him out of the next two presidential elections. The opposition leader will only be eligible to run for office in the 2033 presidential elections if Zanu PF succeeds in tweaking the minimum age limit.
Zanu PF’s argument is that they want to guard against “immature” candidates from entering the presidential race.
This is hogwash and no amount of spin doctoring will endear this law to the public and the international community. This will be the death of democracy in Zimbabwe as it will shut out young people like Chamisa from running for office.
What is also strange is the fact these calls for raising the presidential age limit are coming at the same time Zanu PF is urging Mnangagwa to appoint a young and dynamic Cabinet. This is hypocritical of Zanu PF to try and block out young people from running in the presidential race but at the same time they want the youth to occupy Cabinet positions.
The future of Zimbabwe is in the hands of its youth.
It’s something which must be condemned in the strongest terms possible because the Zimbabwean economy will not improve if Zanu PF is allowed to implement such reprisal laws.
Mnangagwa is turning 76 later this month while the two vice presidents he swore in yesterday, Constantino Chiwenga, 62, and Kembo Mohadi, 68, are not getting any younger.
American educator and civil rights activists Mary Mcleod Bethune once said: “We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power towards good ends.”
Zanu PF should be working with the youth of this country to build a greater tomorrow and not try to stifle the country’s potential by pushing for this draconian legislation.