Monday, 3 September 2018

Changing Age Limits Must Be Resisted

The debate in Zanu PF on plans by some in the ruling party to push for a constitutional amendment that will raise the minimum presidential age limit from the current 40 to between 55 and 60 years is very retrogressive.

Clearly, the suggested constitutional amendment is being mooted primarily to bar MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa who was narrowly beaten by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the recent elections from running for the same post again.

When the idea was first raised by controversial Zanu PF legislator Joseph Chinotimba, many of us thought at the time that the Buhera South legislator was just expressing an uninformed opinion not shared by many in the ruling party.

Recently, Zanu PF politburo member Lovemore Matuke shocked many when he confirmed that the ruling party would indeed use its two-thirds majority in the National Assembly to revise upwards the presidential age limit.

Given the fact that, unlike Chinotimba, Matuke is a Zanu PF bigwig who was the ruling party chief whip in the last Parliament, the threat to tweak the presidential age limit should not be taken lightly.
Changing Age Limits Must Be Resisted
But why should a party that claims to have won the harmonised elections fairly and squarely be this desperate to bar Chamisa from standing again come 2023? Why is Zanu PF and its underlings so determined to block another Chamisa presidential run merely because he exercised his rights by petitioning the Constitutional Court to set aside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s declaration of Mnangagwa as the winner of the July 30 presidential election?

This clearly exposes their fear of the rising youthful politician and the rut we are stuck in as a country. The Zimbabwean economy is in the doldrums but sadly for ordinary citizens, economic revival appears not to be the priority of the ruling party.

Instead of thinking of ways of utilising their majority in Parliament to breathe life into the economy, Zanu PF is already focusing on the 2023 harmonised elections. And this is barely a month after winning another mandate to govern Zimbabwe.

A Constitution is supposed to be fundamental document underpinned by enduring principles and as such change and modification should be rare.

Given the foregoing, it would be treacherous for Zanu PF to use its majority in the National Assembly to amend willy-nilly a Constitution that was borne out of extensive nationwide consultations.

We should not allow a situation where our Constitution is amended upon a few selfish people’s wishes. - DailyNews

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