On May 22, 2013, former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe signed into law the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe following a constitution making process that occurred during the period of the Government of National Unity (GNU).
Section 2 of the Constitution states that, “The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and any law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.”
The supremacy of the Constitution of Zimbabwe is undoubtedly remarkable. It is a pillar of hope in the quest for the dawn of democracy in Zimbabwe. The founding values and principles speak immensely on the right to equality regardless of age.
However Section 91(1) (b) stands as an enemy of the provisions stipulated in the founding values and principles. It states that, “A person only qualifies for election as President or Vice-President if he or she has attained the age of forty (40).”
The Constitution by one means or another contradicts itself. It clearly blocks young people’s political rights by recommending a base age in order to be elected as the head of a republic state.
It ought to rather be discussing a roof on the administration, say one can’t run for President when he/she turns 75 as most liberal majority rule systems reflect such directions. That is more sensible than finishing off youthful and lively individuals from serving the Nation, while opening up for the old and confused, who most likely have no new plans to offer to the Nation.
Meaningful youth empowerment starts by giving young people the opportunity to lead in government at all levels.
This can only be accomplished by firstly amending the presidential age restrain, thereby opening entryways for the youth quota to thrive without hindrance.
In Zimbabwe youths contribute for the most part to the number of inhabitants. To deny them of their entitlement to fit the bill for race of President or Vice President is undemocratic. It is trivial, vexatious and unessential to confine one’s capacity in view of Age and not Merit.
Age is just but a number.
Confirmation can be drawn by utilising Thomas Sankara as an example. He was 33 when he swept into power on August 4, 1983. In the four years he was President, his supporters saw him as an iconic revolutionary figure.
He managed to eliminate corruption and curtail France’s dominance. He rejected foreign aid, nationalised land and mineral wealth, and changed the country’s name from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso (land of the upright man).
His best strategies were urging villagers to empower themselves and build schools with their own labour, prohibiting female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy.
He will forever reign as a benevolent witty leader and a darling of the proletariats.
A more recent example is that of the current French President Macron. Emmanuel Macron was elected President of France in an internationally popular presidential race. Macron’s election has generated a debate over a new generation of presidents taking power. It has turned out to be obvious from a worldwide point of view that ability ought to be a perfect factor in deciding capability and arrangement of any post.
The rallying cry of every young person in Zimbabwe is that Section 91 (1) (b) of the Constitution must be scrapped with immediate effect. It’s either now or never. As a so called system of government based on popular sovereignty in which the structures, powers and limits of government are set forth in the Constitution, it is imperative to do so.
Ageism must fall.
Zimbabwe is Youth.