Tafara Shumba Correspondent
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has been making boo-boos that border on bigotry and a nauseating aversion to women. One would have thought the presidential hopeful was wifeless until he revealed one in public on Sunday.
It was after pressure, mainly from his alliance partners and his supporters that he eventually shepherded his wife to a fun race where he introduced her to supporters.
It’s unfortunate that Chamisa thought President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the one who demanded his wife’s appearance at rallies. Said Chamisa: “I heard (President) Mnangagwa saying where is Chamisa’s wife, and I said, ‘Ah ahah. Garwe is not right’.”
Yours truly has been following closely all the rallies and public engagements by all the political protagonists. Not at any given moment did President Mnangagwa demand Chamisa to reveal his wife in public. It seems Chamisa believes that a rally will not be complete without throwing in President Mnangagwa’s name or telling a lie. The way he mentions the President’s name now borders on obsession.
Whatever people, especially cyber trolls, said about Chamisa’s wife, is neither here nor there. They must leave that woman in peace. After all, age is just a number. There is no law that requires a man to marry someone younger than him. At least he has a wife who is actually dreaming to be this country’s First Lady one day.
However, what Chamisa said during his introduction is what is objectionable. He unwittingly exposed his chauvinism.
“I want to thank you all, this is Mrs Chamisa. You are privileged – I predetermined it from the beginning that I will not allow my wife to become like what the Mnangagwa’s (wives (sic)) are doing, jumping up and down like chickens as if they are now the presidents. Mine will be busy supporting her husband building the family behind the scenes, not this practice of a woman growing a beard like her husband as if they are goats. The husband will be busy handling that side while the wife is handling their own side. ”
That is a sexist statement which all women with political ambitions beyond being a supporter must not take lightly. He has relegated women to the kitchen where their primary role must be restricted to feeding the family.
That is medieval thinking that is least expected to come from a 40-year-old chap. Worse still, Chamisa has been urging the President to retire owing to old age. One lesson is that you might be young in age but harbouring antiquated thinking.
That statement alone explains why Chamisa viciously haunted Dr Thokozani Khupe out of the MDC-T and alliance.
It is the same reason why the likes of Jessie Majome are being persecuted. This is the reason why the top echelons of the MDC Alliance are seriously gender insensitive. People expected that Dr Khupe would be immediately replaced by a fellow woman. The MDC-T can’t be short of capable women. Alas, word has it that Dr Khupe is going to be replaced by one Bekhitemba Mpofu, Chamisa’s college comrade domiciled in South Africa.
He will come to take over from those who have been in the thick and thin of it. Sometimes politics is not fair.
Chamisa’s statement comes hard on the heels of other sexist remarks that have dominated the headlines in recent weeks.
He staked his 18-year-old sister in a presidential battle with President Mnangagwa. It’s too soon to forget the infamous statement he made at a rally in the UK. “If (President) Mnangagwa wins 5 percent in a free election, I will give him my sister. I have a sister who just turned 18 and looking for a husband.”
Though he later apologised, the imprint is indelible and will forever live in the memories of Zimbabwean ladies. With such statements, they have a foretaste of a future government modelled along that of Saudi Arabia, where women are not even allowed to drive.
It would be folly for any lady with political ambitions beyond being a supporter to invest her vote in a leader who has such a low opinion of women. When a boyfriend beats you when you are still in courtship, there is no point in proceeding into marriage.
As if that was not enough, the youthful leader boasted about his capacity to impregnate women. That’s no feat at all; even a madman in the street can score.
Women have the right to participate in the politics of their country. Chamisa must not restrict his wife to the kitchen. If he chooses to be big-headed on this one, at least he must allow other women with civilised husbands in his party to exercise their democratic rights.