The Association of Empowerment Initiative for Elderly and Children (ECC) says is against the proposed constitutional amendment rendering persons above 80 years of age ineligible to contest for the presidency.
This follows widespread reports that the embattled leader of opposition in parliament, who is also Mulanje Central legislator, Kondwani Nankhumwa plans to present a Private Member Bill on the presidential age limit.
The Bill seeks to amend Section 80 (6)(b) of the Constitution which provides for age eligibility of presidential candidates.
Reacting to the reports, ECC in a statement said limiting presidential age limit to 80 is a serious and worse discrimination to the elderly in the country who deserves equal rights and safe environments where they’re accepted for who they are.
“This Month, Our Members of Parliament will meet for the 48th session and will discuss so many matters that affecting our citizens including the accomplishments of the Elderly rights movement isn’t enough.
“Lawmakers and other groups nationwide are targeting the community, and from bans to attacks on Elderly people Elderly people are experiencing some of the worst of the discrimination,” reads the statement in part
Recently, in a statement the Malawi Network of Older Persons (MANEPO) also described the proposed amendment as retrogressive, undemocratic, and completely based on erroneous assumptions.
“It infringes upon the democratic rights of all Malawians to participate in the democratic process by excluding those aged 80 and above.
Besides, MANEPO wonders whether such a Bill would also bar individuals above 80 from becoming members of parliament or assuming the role of the Speaker of the National Assembly,” said MANEPO’s Country Director Andrew Kavala in a statement.
On the other hand, the Malawi Law Society (MLS) president Patrick Mpaka told a local media that proposals to change laws such as presidential age limit should come through a proper public Bill not a private member’s Bill.
This will be a second attempt after a similar move failed in 2018 when former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator for Nsanje South West Joseph Chidanti-Malunga had proposed that the maximum age for those aspiring for the presidency should be capped at 65.