President Emmerson Mnangagwa threw out the contentious motion to up the presidential age limit from 40 to 52 years that had been reverently pushed by the war veterans and the ruling party women’s league.
The Zanu PF national people’s conference declined to adopt the constitutional amendment to sideline opposition leader Nelson Chamisa from contesting the presidential elections in 2023.
In his speech, Mnangagwa said “the future belongs to the youths.”
“To the women’s league, youths league and war veterans, you have made your resolutions that we have taken note of as a government and as a party,” Mnangagwa said.
Deputy Information minister Energy Mutodi said there were no takers for the war veterans demand.
“The resolution to increase minimum age limit for presidential aspirants from 40 years to 50 years was raised by the women’s league and war veterans.
“However, … Mnangagwa removed the resolution from the list of decisions to be adopted by the conference and Advocate Jacob Mudenda read out conference resolutions without that one proposing the presidential age limit adjustment,” Mutodi told the Daily News.
“We felt the resolution if it had been included would portray a bad picture to the world at a time we are seeking various ways of entrenching democracy and economic prosperity.
“Mnangagwa has enunciated a vision for Zimbabwe to achieve an upper middle-class economy by 2030 and it would be a paradox if his administration crafted laws that excluded the middle class itself from higher leadership posts in both the party and government.
“There is also a view that those proposing a new minimum age limit for the president could also be working behind the scenes to introduce a maximum limit and we feel this is a dangerous game,” Mutodi said.
Ahead of the Zanu PF conference, war veterans and the women’s league moved a motion to have the conference push for the ruling party to 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 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.