The Presidential Age Limit Proposal was proposed by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association in December of 2018.[1] Victor Matemadanda said that Parliament should consider raising the Presidential age limit from 40 to 52 years.[2]

Alleged Reasons for the proposal

It was alleged that the proposal was a subtle way of blocking MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa from contesting the 2023 and 2028 elections.[2]

Response from the opposition

Chamisa took to Twitter to express his contempt over alleged attempts by the War veterans to "fix the young".The MDC leader also retweeted former legislator and party ally David Coltart's comments in which the latter says he believed the government was out to sabotage Chamisa because it considered him a real threat to Mnangagwa's bid to seek re-election 2023.

Civil society's response

Civil Society organisation, Church and Civic Society Joint Forum said that the minimum Presidential age limit should come down from the current 40 years to 35 years.

Church and Civic society Joint Forum National Chairperson Anglistone Sibanda condemned the War Veterans’ calls. [2] Sibanda said:

We are actually launching a counter-petition through the Constitutional Court to review the age limit down to 35 years, because we feel the Constitution gives the right to vote to everyone and on the other hand takes away the right to be voted for from people below 40, in its current state.

We have people over 35 years who do not qualify to be youths and yet do not qualify to be senators or contest the presidency, and that is an anomaly.

We cannot have the minority age group deciding for the majority. Youth are 64% of the population and war vets must just go and retire. People like Matemadanda failed to utilise the $50 000 gratuity payout they got in 1997, and they want to hold the country at ransom.

Lewis Matutu

ZANU PF youths league deputy president, Lewis Matutu, distanced his party from utterances that were made by the War Veterans.

Matutu said

We believe that the correct position comes from the party (Zanu PF) … and the truth of the matter is that there is nothing like that from the party. Party issues are communicated by SK (Simon Khaya) Moyo. We respect the war veterans association … but it doesn’t mean that we must agree with all they believe in. Youths constitute the largest percentage of the population and this is also the largest age group of people who vote and you cannot tell them not to participate in the country’s politics.

Alex Magaisa

Magaisa warned that such utterances had the potential to harm President Mnangagwa’s chances of endearing him to the world.

Said Magaisa

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.