President Peter Mutharika, former president Joyce Banda and opposition leader Lazrus Chakwera have escaped the 2019 presidential race disqualification over age matters after legislators from both sides of the House dismissed a motion which seeks to limit the presidential age to 65.
Nsanje south MP Joseph Chidanti Malunga moved the motion on Thursday, saying Malawi should show commitment in the empowerment of the youth by limiting the age to which presidents should be in office.
He therefore suggested that section 80 of the Republican Constitution be amended to put a cap on the age presidents can be in office.
Malunga however said the motion was not targeting an individual.
President Mutharika is 79 whilst vice president Saulos Chilima who heads the Chilima movement and wants to run for presidency is 45, Banda is 68 while Chakwera could be barred in the next elections.
Seconding the motion, Mulanje south MP Bon Kalindo said experience has shown that old and aged leaders do not make decisions on their own.
“Decisions are always made by those who surround the leaders,” he said.
Both Malunga and Kalindo are members of the Chilima movement, a breakaway grouping of former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP0.
However, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Lilongwe south MP Peter Dimba said the motion was segregative against old people and it was targeting an individual, President Mutharika ahead of next year’s elections.
Dimba argued that age does not deliver but competency of an individual.
He gave an example of former presidents Kamuzu Banda and Bingu wa Mutharika whom he said delivered despite their advanced ages.
Dimba said: “Age has nothing to do with the quality of leadership and there is no correlation between age and leadership. This country does not need a young man as President. This country does not need an old man as President. This country needs a leader.”
Mulanje Bale MP Victor Musowa described the motion as disrespectful to the youth and a mockery to the elderly.
After the heated debate, Malunga decided not to wind up, a process which could have led to voting on whether to adopt the motion or not as the motion was heading towards defeat.
Chilima movement officials have been accusing Mutharika of incompetency due to old age, saying decisions are made on his behalf by those who surround him, allegations vehemently denied by the president.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :