Norton MP-elect Temba Mliswa (independent) yesterday said if President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa is confirmed as winner of the just-ended elections by the Constiutional Court, the Zanu PF leader must pass on the baton to the next generation on completion of his first five-year term.

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Mliswa predicted that the 2023 elections would be determined by the youth vote, with people voting for personalities, and even independent candidates, rather than political parties.

“ED (Mnangagwa) must pass on to another generation the baton, not his generation because former President Robert Mugabe took his time and was removed for failing to pass on the baton,” Mliswa said told NewsDay.

“Zimbabweans have supported war veterans since 1980 and we respect their role, but now that baton must be passed on to a generation of people who did not necessarily go to war, and such debate must be allowed to be discussed freely by Mnangagwa because there has got to be a generation of leaders that is not theirs.”

“I am saying so because Mnangagwa picked it up from his own personality to say that Zimbabwe is open for business and to win the 2018 elections, and those are the issues that have made me to realise that in five years’ time, there is need for new players. Now, the challenge on Mnangagwa is that he should be inclusive,” Mliswa said.

“If Mnangagwa does not include other independent players in his Cabinet, then in 2023, the people will pick up an independent president who has the capacity to choose capable people that are not necessarily from political parties to be ministers,” he said.

The Norton MP-elect claimed Mnangagwa’s main challenge right now was not the election petition by opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.

He said the main challenge for him was to be a reformist, to include opposition members in his Cabinet and young people.

“Certainly, I am not looking at standing for a further term as MP in 2023. I would not say I do not want to be President, but there is a lot of work and resources needed for me to be able to stand as a presidential candidate in 2023. But, certainly young people will be voting for individuals that do perform and not political parties,” Mliswa said.

He said if there was no generational consensus, then Zimbabweans must expect to see several young people contesting the next presidential election as independent candidates.

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