ZANU-PF Youth League clashes with war vets on presidential age limit

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THE ZANU-PF Youth League has clashed with the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) over the proposal by the war veterans to use next week’s ZANU-PF Conference in Esigodini to revise the Presidential minimum age limit from 40 to 52 years.

Posting on its Twitter account on Tuesday, the Youth League said: “At one time, the liberation war and the subsequent the Lancaster House talks were commanded by a 30-something year old General Josiah Magama Tongogara. 

“Although he died at only 41, he had immensely contributed to the creation of an independent and black-led  Zimbabwe.”

The veterans of the 1970s bush war against the Rhodesian government are plotting to force the ruling Zanu PF party to make a constitutional amendment that will raise the age limit of presidential aspirants from 40 to 52 years, which would effectively block opposition leader Nelson Chamisa from contesting against President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the 2023 general elections.

Chamisa has responded to the war veterans proposal. In a tweet, he said: “If ever one doubted our July 30 election victory just listen to the chefs’ outbursts.They rule but can’t lead.The Old want to fix the young. Instead of raising the DEMOCRACY bar ED wants to raise the AGE bar. No true new amends the constitution to take away rights!”

Early this year Nelson Chamisa turned 40; the age limit for aspirants allowed in the Constitution while Zanu PF enjoys a two-thirds majority in the Ninth Parliament after a landslide in the July 30 elections.

Matemadanda said the war veterans will use the party’s conference to be held in Esigodini next week to lobby Zanu PF to use its majority in Parliament to enact the restrictive laws.

“The ZNLWVA condemns reactionary forces who go around the world asking for the extension of sanctions and calls 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,” he said.

“This will make sure that anyone who contests for presidency is mature enough to run the country.”

MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume scoffed at the war veterans’ proposals to raise the presidential age limit, saying it showed how much Zanu PF fears Chamisa in an electoral contest. He said although Zanu PF claims to have a two-thirds parliamentary majority, such an amendment violates peoples’ political rights in the Bill of Rights and, therefore, requires a referendum.

“They are cowards, they fear Chamisa. Old men have destroyed this country and if ever there should be an amendment, it should be on an upper age limit,” Mafume said.

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Kaya Moyo said: “I am not the spokesperson of the war veterans, and any case, this has not been brought to us as a party.”

However, according to section 328 of the Constitution, there is no need for a referendum to raise the presidential age limit. The process can be done through a constitutional Bill which would need to pass through a two-thirds majority in both the lower and upper houses. — ZOOMZimbabwe

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