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Mr. Elvis Mugari says age has no bearing on problem solving

Mr. Elvis Mugari, a social activist and a member of the Friends of SMM (FOSMM), in response to the plot by Zimbabwe’s War Veterans to force Zanu-PF, the ruling party, to make a constitutional amendment that will raise the age limit of presidential aspirants from 40 to 52 years that is specifically designed to block Nelson Chamisa, the 2018 MDC-Alliance Presidential candidate, from contesting against President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the 2023 general elections, says age has no bearing on problem solving.

It is the case that Mr. Chamisa is 40 years old which is the current age limit for aspirants allowed in the Constitution.

Zanu-PF has the necessary Parliamentary majority to change the constitution and, therefore, the War Vets may have started a journey with a predetermined and inevitable outcome.

“This idea that age can be used to exclude certain targeted people from enjoying the rights and freedoms that are entrenched in the constitution goes a long towards exposing a political morality that is inimical to the rule of law.  It cannot be disputed that ZANU-PF has the necessary numbers in Parliament to allow the absurdity inherent in this constitutional proposal to be given life to. This is possible because people like us have been silent and docile for far too long.

It is and should be our responsibility to stand on our feet and not on our knees begging people we put in government to be merciful on us when we possess the power to create the outcomes that we want to see.

If anything, the behaviour of political actors has convinced me and my colleagues that it is time for us to show up in any way we can to make civics provocative, igniting and inspiring again after 38 years of squandered opportunities, said Mr. Mugari.

Ms. Miriam Mutizwa, also an activist who established a group called Legal Eagles, said: “I believe that we can rekindle the spirit that led people to fight for democracy in Zimbabwe by creating platforms where power is explicitly the subject of interrogation.  

We have no choice but to start by acknowledging that power illiteracy is so pervasive not only among the so-called “war vets” but among all of us.

Even the so-called “war vets” must know and ought to know that civics is and should be the art of being a pro-social, problem-solving contributor in a self-governing community.

If this is true, then it must be self-evident that the proposed constitutional amendment offends the principle that being pro-social does not need to be causally related to one’s age, and that contributing to solving human problems has nothing to do with age, and finally self-government or independence is a gift of nature.

To me, civics must encompass three fundamental things: a foundation of values, an understanding of the systems that make the world go round, and a set of skills that allow you to pursue goals and to have others join in that pursuit.

I am reminded by Elvis Mugari who angrily responded to an advert posted in the FOSMM whats up group by Dr. Gorden Moyo, the former Minister in the GNU government, of Professor Mutambara’s book launch.

His main contention was that the title of the book: “The Path to Power” strikes at the root of power illiteracy that seems to be a better friend of the few that claim to be powerful and enlightened.

I must admit that there is no shared understanding of what power is and is not.

“To me power is and ought to be: “Is the ability to act or produce an effect; capability of doing or accomplishing something.”

In the morality, culture and mythology of democracy, it cannot be disputed that power resides or ought to reside with the people. Period. End of story.

However, the reality is that even the so-called war vets think that they are the address of power simply because the few who pretend to understand how power operates in civic life often end up wielding disproportionate influence in society, and that these people bridge the gaps created by the ignorance of the great majority.

This is why it is so fundamental for us right now to use the gaffes created by war vets and their comrades in government to capture and share the correct idea of power and to democratize it.

It is striking that the proposal by the so-called war vets can only be made in circumstances where power illiteracy is so pervasive with the consequent that the few close to power become seemingly icons of democracy to the determent of democracy itself.

We have been naive for far too long. Many of us including me think that good things just happen and others who are cynical enough to believe that bad things just happen, the fortunate and unfortunate alike who think that their lot is simply what they deserve rather than the eminently alterable result of a prior arrangement, an inherited allocation, of power.

There can be no moral, legal and constitutional justification for any human being to claim a higher moral ground than likes in the pursuit of happiness like the so-called war vets have done since independence.”

Mr. Mugari concluded by saying: “We can choose to defer choices to the few that are products of our electoral choices or choose to be vigilant in the mould of Thomas Jefferson who said: “When a man assumes a public trusthe should consider himself as public property, and justly liable to the inspection and vigilance of public opinion,” yet the reality is that we have become enslaved in thought and deed by they very people who must be liable to us.”

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