PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF party has rejected a proposal from its affiliate, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), to raise the age limit for presidential aspirants to 52 years.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
War veterans, with support from the women’s league, wanted Zanu PF to use its two-thirds majority in Parliament to amend the national Constitution in what critics have argued is a move to block 40-year-old opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa from contesting the 2023 presidential poll.
Chamisa came close to upsetting Mnangagwa in a bruising election battle early this year, only to lose the closely fought presidential poll after polling 44,3% against the Zanu PF leader’s 50,8%. The MDC leader, however, disputed the election result and brought a petition before the Constitutional Court in a bid to overturn Mnangagwa’s victory which was, however, thrown out for lack of evidence.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday said the ruling party had not received any official communication from war veterans on the issue. Resolutions passed at the end of the ruling party’s 17th annual conference held in Esigodini, Matabeleland South, last week did not include the contentious proposal.
“As far as I am aware, we have not received any communication regarding the proposed amendment to the Constitution. If it was discussed at the conference, it may have been at the committees’ stage, but it was never brought to the final list for adoption,” Khaya Moyo said.
Insiders said the proposal had found resistance from the youth league, in particular.
“Except for some within the leadership, the entire youth league was opposed to the amendment. It makes very little sense and flies in the face of our new found call to open up the democratic space. It’s like replaying the old record from which the President (Mnangagwa) is trying to walk away,” said a source.
Zanu PF secretary for youth Pupurai Togarepi could not be reached for comment after he was involved in an accident on his way to the conference, while his deputy, Lewis Matutu’s mobile phone went unanswered.
War veterans leader Victor Matemadanda, who has been the most vocal proponent of the resolution, was unwilling to discuss the issue yesterday.
“I am travelling. Can I talk to you later in the day,” he said. – News Day