Stoking fresh controversy, Zimbabwe People First (ZPF)’s Masvingo interim provincial coordinator, retired Colonel Claudius Makova, has said people in politics should not continue in active posts beyond 70 years of age.
Makova said that 65 or 70 should be the age for people to go out of active posts and take up other roles instead.
The age ceiling comments have come at a time when there is intense speculation about imminent changes in the ZPF setup, with the younger generation likely to call the shots and the older generation replaced.
Makova said people above 70 years should be content with performing advisory roles and stop vying for positions in the party’s upcoming national convention slated for October.
Joice Mujuru, 61, is the interim president of ZPF
Addressing about 5 000 ZPF supporters at a Gutu South rally at the weekend, Makova said he was helping set up structures in the party and would not contest for a position at the upcoming convention.
“I won’t contest for a position at the convention. People who are above 70 years should stay at home playing with their grandchildren, and be advisors only should they want to dabble into politics. I served for 10 years as an MP and will not contest for a position at the convention.
“I want to leave this to the younger generation”, he said.
Businessman John Dauramanzi, speaking on the same occasion, applauded Makova for his understanding of the dynamics of national leadership and the need for leadership renewal, but insisted that “as the younger generation, we value what those before us have done and as we go forward, we will always get back to them for advice whenever the need arises.”
Mujuru’s party will hold its national convention in October to select its leadership amid growing concerns that there was intense jostling for positions.
Many people who include former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and former presidential affairs minister Didymus Mutasa are said to be among the many senior party members above 70 who are expected to battle for positions.
Speaking at the same occasion, former Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, who is the party’s national mobilisation chairperson, said it was time President Robert Mugabe relinquishes power to the young generation who have the energy and know-how to turn around the country’s economic fortunes.
Mavhaire, who was the first to call for Mugabe to pass on power in 1997, said he served in jail with Mugabe before he left for Mozambique, where the 92-year-old was elected leader on the understanding that he would pass on the baton to someone after serving for a short while.
He said Mugabe was initially rejected as Zanu PF leader by war veterans in Mozambique but was later accepted on condition that he would pass on power to others after running for a short period. He said he reneged on the promise after taking over power.
Commenting on the large number of people who attended the rally, ZPF Gutu district coordinator Norman Maungwa said the attendance was a no confidence vote on Zanu PF and its MP Paul Chimedza.
“People in Gutu South have given a vote of no confidence in Zanu PF and Chimedza. People no longer want to hear anything about him. I was his campaign manager, he has made many blunders,” Maungwa said.
The Gutu South rally was attended by most ZPF Masvingo provincial members who included Jefferson Chitando, Oliver Huruba, Trust Muganji, Panganai Chiduwa, Oliver Chirume, Enerst Mudavanhu, Heya Shoko as well as national members, Retired Lt Col Kudzai Mbudzi, Shylet Uyoyo, Wicliffe Matindike and William Zivenge.