Controversial Zim MP proposes raising age limit for president from 40 to 55

A controversial Zimbabwean MP has told a ruling party rally that he will propose amending the constitution to disqualify presidential candidates below the age of 55, a move seen as targeting MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa.

Zimbabwe's constitution currently allows people aged 40 and over to stand for the highest office, a fact that benefited Chamisa who is himself only 40. But in the July 30 poll the ruling Zanu-PF party won a more than two-thirds majority in the 210-seat parliament, giving it sweeping powers to amend the constitution.

If Joseph Chinotimba's motion were to be adopted, and the constitution changed, Chamisa would be disqualified from standing in the 2023 polls.

'Not yet mature'

"I want the presidential age limit to change from 40 years to 55 or 60 years," Chinotimba said, according to the private Daily News

He was addressing supporters to celebrate his win in the Buhera South constituency, eastern Zimbabwe.

The 68-year-old Chinotimba claimed his proposed actions weren't directed at Chamisa, but said it was because some presidential candidates "are not yet mature to lead this nation".

"We want people who know the history of this country, people who are responsible for their actions," he said.

Outrageous statements

Many on social media have laughed off Chinotimba's threat. The MP, a former security guard who helped to organise the invasion of white-owned farms in 2000 is known for his sometimes audacious comments and clownish behaviour in the National Assembly.

In November, in the wake of Robert Mugabe’s resignation, he accused the former president’s wife Grace of being a "hure" or prostitute who had led Mugabe astray.

"If I marry a woman, let her not take my legacy to be her own legacy," he said in a video clip posted by local news site, Bulawayo 24