President Emmerson Mnangagwa will not use the proposed age-limit for presidential candidates to outdo his main rival Nelson Chamisa but his policies and actions, Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi said in an apparent response to calls by war veterans and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Women’s League.
The two, which are key pillars of the ruling ZANU-PF, have called for the minimum age for anyone to contest as president to be raised from 40 to 52 because they argue that the post needs someone who is mature.
Chamisa turned 40 this year just a few months before the polls and wrestled the opposition Movement for Democratic Change leadership from Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri to contest as the MDC Alliance presidential candidate.
He lost to Mnangagwa by just over 300 000 votes but claims he beat Mnangagwa by more than 500 000 votes but was denied victory by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court, however, dismissed his case and ordered him to pay costs of the lawsuit which run into millions.
But Chamisa insists that he does not recognise Mnangagwa’s victory or his presidency and this is what has prompted some in the ruling party to think he is too immature to lead the country but they are now trying to raise the age-limit which would mean that Chamisa would not contest the next two presidential elections.
The move by the war veterans and the Women’s League is now being used by Chamisa and his supporters as proof that they want to bar him from contesting because they know he beat Mnangagwa in July.
Critics, including his former colleague in the opposition Arthur Mutambara, while saying the elections were rigged, say Chamisa cannot be contesting the presidential result alone while acknowledging that ZANU-PF won fairly and squarely a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Mutambara said Chamisa should move on as the country cannot afford another five years of talking about stolen elections.
Mutodi, who made headlines last year when he was photographed with Mnangagwa who was then Vice-President holding a cup inscribed “I am the boss” tweeted last night: “Let me make it clear that His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa will not seek to outdo his rival in the last election Nelson Chamisa by increasing the age limit for Presidential candidates. Instead, his policies and actions will do the bidding for his next term.”
Mnangagwa has pledged to turn Zimbabwe into an upper middle class economy by 2030 and his Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has come up with a two year stabilisation programme.
Though the country is ravaged by shortages of fuel and rocketing prices, Ncube says it has started operating on a primary surplus.
Mnangagwa said as of 16 November, the country had received more foreign currency than it had paid out.
Former MDC policy advisor Eddie Cross said Mnangagwa was making a lot of progress but his administration had lousy public relations.
“Even when they do the ‘right things’ they fudge the impact on global opinion,” Cross said.