Sunday, 20 May 2018

Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa apologises for ill-judged joke

Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa apologises for ill-judged joke
10 May
Nelson Chamisa
President of Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change Tsvangirai (MDCT) party Nelson Chamisa delivers a speech during a worker’s day rally hosted by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) at Dzivarasekwa Stadium in Harare on May 1, 2018.

Image Credits: JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

No need to pause for laughs on this one. Nelson Chamisa’s pretty lousy joke has got him in more trouble than it was worth this week.

According to News24, he made a wisecrack about Emmerson Mnangagwa winning a fair and free election that hasn’t really gone down that well.

Mnangagwa became the Zimbabwean president last November, following a peaceful transition which ousted Robert Mugabe from his 37-year reign of the country.

However, Bob may have been forced out of office, but his party – Zanu PF – very much remain in charge. This year will see the first elections in the post-Mugabe era, with the eyes of the world watching over a burgeoning democracy.

Nelson Chamisa’s joke about his sister

As reported by, Chamisa poked fun at the prospect of a “free election” when Zanu PF are in charge. Whilst taking a potshot at his opposite number, he managed to raise a few eyebrows:

“If Mnangagwa wins 5% in a free election, I will give him my sister. I have a sister who just turned 18 and looking for a husband. I am betting on this because I know it won’t happen.”

Oh boy. I’m sure his younger sister was thrilled to hear that. Whatever his intentions, Chamisa somewhat missed the mark. It didn’t take long before he was being dragged on Twitter, either:

Chamisa apologises

Chamisa apologised for his ill-judged gaffe on Thursday. He dismissed the terms he used as “political banter” and called the public reaction a “sideshow”.

“If anyone felt hurt about the joke I am sorry. It was just a political banter that I used to illustrate that even if I promised to give him (Mnangagwa) my most prized position, he would still not be able to defeat us in a free and fair election.”

“The joke should have been a non-issue, because most Zimbabweans are worried about issues of survival. This is just a sideshow that is being used by irrelevant people to score cheap political points at my expense.”

The Zimbabwean elections are poised to take place in August 2018. International electoral committees and UN delegates will be keeping a watchful eye on how it all unfolds, to ensure that the country can stage an open and democratic vote.

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