Mwonzora slams Zanu PF’s ‘subjective’ presidential age limit proposal

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By Paidashe Mandivengerei

MDC secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora has described Zanu PF’s attempt to raise the minimum presidential age limit from 40 to 52 years as “subjective and unnecessary”.

He was speaking in an online radio station’s panel discussion focussing on the contentious plot by Zanu PF to revise upwards the age threshold for aspiring Presidents.

The opposition claims the decision was an attempt to freeze out popular MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who at 40 this year, came close to upstaging President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the highly disputed July 30 presidential election.

During the Monday discussion, Mwonzora repeated the claims that the constitutional proposal targeted Chamisa, who could be inelligible for the next two presidential election periods which come 2023 and 2028.

“As a constitution maker, I can tell you that it is dangerous to make a constitution with a person in mind because if you do that, then it is subjective,” said Mwonzora, who co-chaired the parliamentary team that spearheaded the authoring of the country’s supreme law 2009-2013.

“What the government or Zanu PF did not do is to put the upper presidential limit, and it was not mentioned as it would affect the current president. Zanu PF has sought to change the law for the worst,” he said.

Zanu PF aligned war veterans, who emerged with the idea, argued that at 40, one would still not be mature enough to handle the demands of leading a nation.

But Mwonzora argued that age and maturity were different things that had to be treated on a case by case basis.

“There are certain behavioural cases by people who are over 50 or even 60 which you can equate to someone who is below 7. We have also seen brilliant stuff coming from young people,” he said.

The question of whether the age limit should be raised was supposed to be broached and adopted at the just ended Zanu PF annual conference in Esigodini but seemed to have been suppressed by President Mnangagwa.