Nelson Chamisa and a broad section of Zimbabweans yesterday blasted war veterans leader Victor Matemadanda over his motion ahead of the Zanu PF annual national people’s conference to have the ruling party use its super majority in Parliament to raise the minimum age for presidential aspirants from the current 40 years to 52.
Widely seen as targeted at the MDC Alliance presidential candidate in the just-ended harmonised elections — 40-year-old Chamisa — who was beaten by a razor-thin margin by Zanu PF candidate President Emmerson Mnangagwa, this planned constitutional amendment will most certainly dent the youthful opposition leader’s presidential aspirations in the 2023 polls.
Chamisa described Mnangagwa’s regime as a “kakistocracy” (government by the worst people).
“I have listened to Matemadanda’s utterances. 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 for demanding their time and space.
“Instead of raising the democracy bar, ED wants to raise the age bar. No genuine new dispensation amends the Constitution to take away young people’s rights,” said Chamisa.
Meanwhile, MDC youths in Bulawayo told a hastily-arranged press conference at the party’s provincial offices that they won’t let the old generation decide the future of the young generation.
“We want to call Matemadanda to order. It is the youth who fought for this country, and it is everyone’s right to seek mandate to lead it, as was fought for by the youth led by Josiah Tongogara and others,” provincial youth leader Takunda Madzana told journalists.
Madzana said as much as they respected the role played by the former liberators, they felt it was not their place to set the political tone in the country.
Describing Matemadanda as an “embarrassing old man” former adviser to the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Alex Magaisa said Mnangagwa’s chances of endearing himself to the world at large could be severely damaged by the utterances of the war veterans leader.
“How does anyone in his right mind even begin to contemplate this without seeing the damage it causes to their own principal? So, now you want to bar an opponent through a constitutional amendment? Isn’t it for the people to reject a candidate if they don’t like him or her? It does nothing to help the cause of a man who is desperate to be seen as open and tolerant. It’s a silly, immature and hare-brained idea,” said Magaisa
When the subject was broached by some in Zanu PF — several members of the Zanu PF youth league rejected the proposal saying it was retrogressive and a threat to the Constitution.
The first person to raise the issues in August was outspoken Zanu PF legislator for Buhera South Joseph Chinotimba who stirred a hornet’s nest when he said he would propose amending the Constitution to disqualify presidential candidates below the age of 55.
He was backed a few weeks later by Zanu PF’s politburo member Lovemore Matuke, who said the ruling party would use its parliamentary majority to revise the age limit upwards and block Chamisa because he is “immature”.
But party insiders told the Daily News that while Zanu PF was rattled by the youthful MDC Alliance leader’s strong showing in the recently-held elections, its faithful were divided over the issue.
The move has also invited scorn from ordinary Zimbabweans.