24 September 2017

Zimbabwe: Dump Old, Sick Leaders - Mawarire, Masarira to Zanu-PF, MDC-T

FORMER Joice Mujuru loyalist Jealous Mawarire and pro-democracy activist Linda Masarira have both scorned Zanu PF and MDC-T followers for pinning their 2018 election hopes on their "old and sick" leaders.

The two were among dozens of young leaders who attended a Youth Dialogue Forum discussion at Dr Ibbo Mandaza's SAPES Trust Thursday.

Among the panelists were #ThisFlag founder, Pastor Evan Mawarire, Zanu PF and MDC-T youth activists Jason Zhuwao and Lovemore Chinoputsa.

Both Zhuwao and Chinoputsa said their leaders were the best for the country.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai head for their fourth straight Presidential contest during the 2018 elections.

However, since their first contest 2002, age has since caught up with President Mugabe who will be 94 next year. Mugabe has had frequent Asian trips to seek medical attention.

Tsvangirai, similarly, is battling poor health since coming out publicly about suffering from colon cancer.

Doubt has been cast over the two's capabilities to see through a taxing campaign programme.

They have, however, both steadfastly waived away sentiments they relinquish pursuit for the country's most influential job for younger leaders in their ranks.

But Mawarire, also a journalist, took it with Zhuwao and Chinoputsa for apparent lack of spine to challenge for more suitable leadership.

"I would like to know the ages of your presidents how old are they in the first place and when you went to your parties, did you make considerations on the age of political leaders and their health because we are now in crisis.

"Some are now geriatric; some are battling ill health but all we hear is that ivavo chete-chete (them through and through). Do you ever consider their health and their ages?"

Masarira, equally, questioned the wisdom of the two leaders' followers.

"Are we Zimbabweans sick upstairs! How can we have two presidential candidates who are sick, busy chanting navo navo, chete-chete (them and them alone); for people who claim to be very educated and with PhDs!" she said.

In his response, Zhuwao, son to President Mugabe's nephew and Indigenisation Minister Patrick Zhuwao, said Zanu PF was blind to candidates' ages but what they were capable of doing once elected.

"We in Zanu PF believe that our leaders are chosen based on merit and ideology; age is just an under factor. President Mugabe is a capable and abled leader at his age. He is a credible candidate ... "

Chinoputsa also said Tsvangirai was fit for 2018.

"As far as his doctor's report is concerned, he is fit enough to be able to contest," he said of the MDC Alliance presidential candidate who spent last week receiving treatment in South Africa.

He added: "When you look at a candidate, you should look at what they are capable of doing and I don't think there is lack of wisdom in the six other candidates that have endorsed him for 2018.

"President Tsvangirai is healthy and fit to run for 2018."

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