PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF party on Saturday edged closer to shutting opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa out of the 2023 presidential election.
This was after a resolution was passed at the 17th annual conference to push for a constitutional amendment raising the minimum age requirement for the presidency by 10 years.
Zanu PF won a two thirds majority in legislative elections in July and has the numbers to push through the amendment with ease.
In resolutions read out by Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda at the close of the conference, the annual indaba ordered Zanu PF to push for the amendment in the legislature.
“Party should amend the national Constitution to include a requirement for a 50-year age limit for presidential candidates,” read the resolution in part.
Chamisa turned 40 earlier this year and elbowed his way to the top of the MDC Alliance leadership in the aftermath of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s death on Valentine’s Day.
Chamisa ruthlessly outsmarted rival contenders Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe.
Khupe has since broken away to leader a smaller faction of the MDC-T while Chamisa came close to upstaging Mnangagwa in an intriguing election battle on July 30.
Mnangagwa was declared winner with 50.8% while Chamisa polled 44.3% but the opposition leader has consistently rejected the outcome which he challenged at the Constitutional Court. The petition was dismissed for lack of evidence of poll fraud or collusion between Zanu PF and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
War Veterans have been at the forefront of the call for a constitutional amendment in a desperate bid to stop Chamisa.
Zimbabwe’s Constitution, which was adopted in 2013 after a national referendum, provides for a 40-year lower age limit for presidential candidates but with not upper cap.
Secretary general Victor Matemadanda told State radio that Chamisa had shown immaturity hence the push to raise the age limit.
“The problem with the opposition is that they only shout without providing an alternative view. We must engage because we have a reason to push for the changes. It’s allowed in a democratic state. “Shouting at me does not stop the amendment.
“We have realised that the youths are giving us problems. We had the G40 in Zanu PF that almost sunk our party and now the person giving us grief Chamisa is within the same generation. So, we will push the party to adopt the age limit resolution,” said Matemadanda.