MP Lunguzi wants presidential age limit law in Malawi

Dedza East legislator Juliana Lunguzi (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) has said she will propose a a constitutional change that will put  the age limit of 75 for presidential candidates.

Lunguzi: Presidential age limit needed

Lunguzi took it to Twitter to say she is ready to move the constitutional amendment bill as private members bill.

She wants to put a measure in the constitution barring anyone younger than 35 or older than 75 to be president and even Cabinet Minister.

The Constitution prescribes 35 as the minimum age for a presidential candidate but  is silent on the maximum age for Presidents.

“Am looking for motions at the upcoming sitting of Parliament. Let me move a motion to amend our Constitution on age limit for those in Public offices including the President…and of course finance ministers. Then our debate will be continued.” Lunguzi tweeted.

Since she twitted about the presidential age limit, the public opinion on social media  has been overwhelmingly in support of Lunguzi.

Her backers say that would help  to stop  ageing autocrats clinging on to power.

One posted her comment on Facebook  recommending that all presidential candidates are subjected to mental and medical checks to assess suitability to execute the duties of the highest political office in the land.

“We needs medical opinion on whether an individual can still effectively execute the office of the president at 75,” commented Grace Nkhoma.

Lunguzi said she was incensed by remarks by Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe who  said running the President’s office and government affairs is serious business that requires old people who have experience and not ‘babies’ who are novices in State matters.

Gondwe, who will clock 82 this year,  laughed off suggestions that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should replace President Peter Mutharika with a ‘baby’ during the 2019 polls because he is aging.

While opening a meeting of senior DPP officials attended by over 200 party members in the Northern Region at Katoto Secondary School Hall in Mzuzu on Wednesday, Gondwe rubbished  former first lady Callista Mutharika  remarks  that Mutharika, at 79, would be too old to carry on as President as he would be 84 years old at the time of leaving office in 2024 if re-elected next year.

The former first lady argues that it is normal that thinking capacity levels deteriorate as one gets older, and, therefore, favours Vice-President Saulos Chilima, 45, to lead the DPP in the 2019 elections.

But Gondwe said: ““Government is not for babies, government is for people with experience, and Peter is a man of experience, education, and above all, a person who behaves better and well to everyone.”

Professor Thandika Mkandawire, a Swedish economist of Malawian descent, wrote on Nyasanet  that the time for aged leaders is gone.

Mkandawire said he was together with Mutharika during both the struggle for independence and democratisation, which he argued are enough contributions from him.

“I still can’t figure out why he [Mutharika] believes he has the energy and capacity for the incredibly arduous and complex struggle for developing Malawi. The most successful presidents in the last 20 years—the Meles [Zenawi] of Ethiopia, Rwandan President [Paul] Kagame have been young with huge amounts of energy.

“In addition, we can’t have a Minister of Finance [Gondwe] in the 80s. It makes no sense and this is beginning to show in some of the confusion in fiscal policy. And it is a joke among both donors and investors.

“We, the old should sit on the side, doling out our wisdom when demanded. But running a State or economy? No,” he said.

He said having such old guards was not fair to a population that is so young and so full of dreams and energy.

However, other commentators say people should avoid age discrimination.

 

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Pimbisa Ambwiye
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Pimbisa Ambwiye

Interesting stuff coming from an MCP MP. Just shows that MCP has already conceded defeat at the polls and that DPP will continue ruling. All she is saying is she doesn’t want APM for president for his age otherwise the campaign would have been for Chakwera to unseat the incumbent. If age is her problem then she can use it as a campaign tool. Anyway why should these sentiments come after Hurricane Callista? Mzake wa befu. kkkkkk

paxy
Guest
paxy

We need evidence based decisions in this 21st century. How was the limit of 75 arrived at? Emotionally, most likely, with an interest behind. I would rather have people debate on the appropriate retirement age, giving empirical evidence to their arguments.

mchisala
Guest
mchisala

It is about the voters (the country) not being too discerning in their choices for people to represent them and not the age nonsense! If you are not too discerning in your choices you will choose baby morons or aged morons–they will be morons regardless!!!

Alinafe Phiri
Guest
Alinafe Phiri

75 zachulukaso, koma 65

Sapitamo kawiri mu DPP
Guest
Sapitamo kawiri mu DPP

The problem that we have in Malawi is not age but total failure to run government by the Mutharika and his team like Gondwes, Mchacha, Dausis etc.
Za age zangopezerapo mpata.

AgeGate.
Guest
AgeGate.

AgeGate yavuta. Youths in Malawi are too shy. We can’t take risks. We want to paint ourselves and clap hands for the old guards.
While I agree with Juliana in her current argument I find her contradicting herself in how she perceive gender issues as regards elections. I heard her saying let women not be favoured. They need to compete. Why not treat the age thing same way?

Hatton
Guest
Hatton

It is interesting to see the recommendation coming from MCP, the same people that rejected the proposal in the post referendum constitution review conference. At that time they wanted to accommodate their over aged Kamuzu. I am seeing Honourable Lunguzi making the same mistake in her proposal. Who are you trying to accommodate honourable? If you are serious and you want the amended law to stand the test of time then harmonize your proposal with the country’s retirement age, such that 55 years must be the limit, so that by the end of the presidential 5 year term the incumbent… Read more »

Timvê ziti
Guest
Timvê ziti

Totally agree with you.
1. If a civil servant is deemed too old to run a govt office at 60 what more with the aged running a whole govt. Double standards here
2. The limit should be 60 so this age problem should be dealt with once and for all

Gubudu
Guest
Gubudu

Mayi Julie lakula ndi phuma/befu. Very emotional woman.
Why are you targeting the too only. Have u considered mps who have served their constituenciea for more than 20 years? Them too need to go and pave way for young blood. Even the 75 yrs ceiling you are proposing is too much but i bet you wont bring it down incase it disadvantages Chakwera’s second term (if he wins at the polls next year). The vandetta is there for all to see. Bring maximum terms limits for mps and i will buy your proporsal.

Wina
Guest
Wina

Madame Lunguzi, ageism is the same as sexism and racism. It is informed by discrimination. If there is need for change it should not be informed by emotional outbursts, point scoring, personal targetting of someone or a hatred of Mutharika – it will not work.

Mario pei
Guest
Mario pei

If ageism is discriminatory why do we have pension /retirement age..You may also say pension is discrimination..

Gwenembe
Guest
Gwenembe

Didn’t we just retire the IG because of age. So why not the same for presidency. You can’t say civil servants retire at 60 but we can have president who is head of all civil servants be 90. Its not discrimination. Would you employ a 90 year old driver just because u don’t wanna discriminate. The age limit law shud be crafted also not to contradict with the two term limit in the constitution.

LEGO
Guest

What about the age limit in the civil servants,does it not discriminate them at 65?Think before you write

Napoleon
Guest
Napoleon

Wins you are right, nobody should be discriminated cause of age. If people feel he can perform why not go for the person. Some are young but not performer. We have young MPs in the house but look what they do when elected, they move away from the constituency and stay in the city and there is no development in their area. So should we say the young and energetic are capable to lead the nation.? Should we say women should not stand for presidential position cause they cannot perform like JB. .Let us not be cheat of age, it… Read more »

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