Acie Lumumba to bid for Parly seat

HARARE - William Mutumanje, popularly known as Acie Lumumba, says he will not run for the Zimbabwean presidency, the strongest statement to date about his intentions for the 2018 presidential race, saying he was planning a bid for Parliament.

Lumumba, who leads the fledgling opposition Viva Zimbabwe, said even if he wanted to run, he was disqualified by dint of his age. He is 28, yet one must be at least 40 to run for president.

“I am considering contesting for a Parliament seat but one Lumumba in Parliament will do no good,” he said, castigating presidential election candidates.

This comes as veteran politician Morgan Tsvangirai will represent Zimbabwe’s opposition alliance in the presidential election next year, his fourth time as a presidential candidate.

His nomination was announced by leaders of the MDC Alliance to cheering supporters at a rally at Zimbabwe Grounds earlier this month.

“At a personal level, I endorse none of the presidential candidates,” he said.

“We are still in off-season. The notion that it is now election season is very false. We don’t even have an election date, you can only talk about endorsing a candidate when we have an election date.

“I think you have seen that young people have now come out, the likes of Linda Masarira, Patson Mashingaidze, Agency Gumbo deliberately as independent candidates because we realised there was serious political fatigue among young people no longer interested in this thing called political party because they have been let down by it too much.

“Instead, they are interested with their politicians, which to me is much better because they get involved directly with the people representing them.”

Lumumba said Viva Zimbabwe was now aiming to mobilise the youths to participate in next year’s elections.

“On July 31, this year, Viva Zimbabwe national executive council met to decide how we are going to participate in the 2018 elections. The resolution was to go back to what we set out the same time last year. July 31 last year was when we announced we were embarking on a programme to establish a youth political movement.

“The objective was to do two things, encourage young people to participate as registered voters so that they go out there and register their interest or disinterest through the electoral process. I believe over the last year, we have accomplished this. But just because we have not been singing about it doesn’t mean we are not doing anything.

“The job of trail blazers is to set the trail and there are a lot of young people waiting to register to vote; to encourage young people to register as political candidates, to contest for council, Senate, Parliament offices. Sadly, some of us are still too young to run for presidency, but all electable offices must be contested for.”

He said running as a political party required more funds than what Viva Zimbabwe has, hence the decision to penetrate the youth and garner for virgin votes.

Lumumba is facing charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe, but has been granted leave to reinstate his Constitutional Court application challenging the constitutionally of the charges he is facing.

“I have been very clear even when I was still in Zanu PF that I am for young people, any new voter is focused on the younger candidates because all the old guys are not going to be available for them in the future,” he said.

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