PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF wants all old people to be assisted to vote during the watershed 2018 harmonised elections, arguing that advanced age reduced mental concentration, a party official has said.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Zanu PF Highfield legislator Psychology Maziwisa who spoke during a Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn) public meeting on biometric voter registration (BVR) on Thursday night, caused consternation among participants when he said all old people had a diminished mental capacity.
“There are a whole variety of reasons why a number of people can be assisted to vote. One of the reasons is that somebody could be blind but they are a registered voter. Don’t you want them to vote simply because they are blind? Two, some of them could be old, advanced age reduces your mental concentration,” Maziwisa said.
This prompted a member of the audience to ask Maziwisa whether his 93-year-old party presidential candidate for the 2018 polls, Mugabe should also be assisted to vote.
“Since you said old people should be assisted to vote because old age diminishes mental capacity, President Mugabe must also be assisted to vote because he is old,” he shouted.
Maziwisa tried to wriggle out saying Mugabe was the only exception claiming the President was still alert and energetic at 93 years old.
“There is only one exception to that and it’s President Mugabe. He is still alert, it has been confirmed by ambassadors and a lot of people. He is the only exception,” he said.
But MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora could not resist taking a dig at Maziwisa, reminding him how Mugabe has been embarrassingly caught sleeping on international platforms.
“I don’t know about the exception, but Mugabe was not alert during the burial of (former Botswana President Ketumile) Masire (last week), obviously age has caught up with him,” Mwonzora said.
Political activist Promise Mkwananzi has also taken Mugabe to the Constitutional Court arguing that because of his advanced age he was no longer competent to deliver on his mandate.
The matter was, however, dismissed on a technicality.
In the 2013 general elections, Zanu PF was accused of forcing educated people, including headmasters and teachers in rural schools to vote with assistance, which resulted in an unusually high number of assisted voters.
Maziwisa accused the opposition of just having a culture of opposing all government programmes urging Zimbabweans to embrace BVR and ignore dissenting voices.
“Their mission is to oppose. Their argument is we need to be careful. They are now saying what about assisted voters? What about vote buying? What about the fact that in their view there is media bias?” he said.
“The argument that has been raised around assisted voters is that how can you have so many people in Zimbabwe being assisted to vote because we have a very high literacy rate.
“Those that have come up with that argument think they have the best electoral argument of the century — it’s not.”