Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa says the panic by Zimbabwe’s war veterans who have proposed to amend the constitution to raise the minimum age for presidential candidates from 40 to 52 is a clear indication that he won the 30 July elections.
Chamisa was beaten by the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa but has refused to accept the result despite a ruling by the country’s highest court.
War veterans argue that because of the immaturity displayed by Chamisa, the age limit for one to quality to contest as president must be raised.
In response, Chamisa tweeted: “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. Instead of raising the DEMOCRACY bar ED wants to raise the AGE bar. No true new amends the constitution to take away rights! #nothingchanged.”
He was backed by former MDC cabinet minister David Coltart who wrote: “@nelsonchamisa has really caused a stir in #Zimbabwe. Imagine wanting to amend a whole Constitution just to prevent one individual from becoming President. If the USA had something similar they would have missed out on both Kennedy and @BarackObama.”
But columnist Tafi Mhaka, writing for News24, says Chamisa lacks imagination and is flogging a dead horse.
“Chamisa has failed to articulate a definite plan of action to rally millions of people behind his electoral cause. The youthful leader has not set any credible benchmarks or drawn any red lines for Mnangagwa not to cross,” he wrote.
“He hasn’t articulated any possible consequences should Mnangagwa go about fulfilling his dubious constitutional mandate without a care in the world for the MDC Alliance’s public proclamations and massive marches.
“Despite declaring that the MDC Alliance was ‘planning something big’ and promising to ‘take back our electoral victory’ as far back as October 27, Chamisa’s public pledge to torpedo Mnangagwa’s disputed presidency has morphed into an uninspiring state of incessant namby-pamby political posturing backed by a fusillade of futile political bravado on Twitter.”
Mhaka says Chamisa must revise his strategy.
“The world’s moved on, unfortunately. Everyone – including China, the US and the EU – recognises Mnangagwa’s legitimacy. This ghastly, stubbornly hard truth must move Chamisa to stop flogging a dead horse and instead deliberate on a fresh political strategy,” he wrote.
“The MDC Alliance must make hard and intelligent decisions about how it can help improve the escalating economic crisis and best prepare for the 2023 elections (from outside of government).
“The ruling ZANU-PF party won the Mutoko North parliamentary by-election held on November 24 by a massive margin (11 141 votes to 1 329). This landslide victory is fully suggestive of how suspiciously ‘popular’ ZANU-PF remains in a majority of populous rural constituencies.
“This huge win is fully demonstrative of the structural advantages regularly abused by ZANU-PF to rig elections in rural areas; and this is right where all hope for achieving a Chamisa presidency in 2023 must find fresh life.
“Expending copious amounts of humanitarian goodwill from the masses on interrogating Mnangagwa’s obviously dubious but confirmed legitimacy is an utter waste of political capital as this won’t yield a solid result where it matters most: the rural areas. “