'Mudhidhi' comments haunt Chamisa

'Mudhidhi' comments haunt Chamisa
Published: 12 September 2018 (265 Views)
MDC Alliance leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa, has been slammed for derogatory and sexist comments he made about Olympic Gold medalist Kirsty Coventry's appointment as Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister. Minister Coventry was sworn in at State House on Monday as part of President Mnangagwa's 20-member Cabinet.

Mr Chamisa drew widespread condemnation over his choice of words in his misogynistic views of fellow "youthful" leaders.

Addressing a rally in Chitungwiza at the weekend, the opposition leader said he felt pity seeing Min Coventry being "dragged" into Cabinet and referred to the decorated Olympian as a toddler.

"Ndakanzwa tsitsi, ndakawona adhonza kamwana kedu kanoswimmer. Kanodhidha, mudhidhi wedu takaona ayiswa manje mukati. Kwakutora anodhidha nhai vakomana (I felt pity seeing our toddler who is a swimmer also included. Imagine appointing a swimmer!)," said Mr Chamisa.

Activists said Mr Chamisa should be the last person to discriminate using age as he was making the loudest noise when people referred to him as a "political toddler" or immature to lead the country.

They also slammed his hypocrisy for questioning the appointment of Min Coventry who at 35 is way older than Mr Chamisa when he was first appointed into Cabinet during the inclusive Government in 2009. At 31, Mr Chamisa was the youngest Minister then.

 Renowned novelist, Ms Tsitsi Dangarembga, said Zimbabwe is lucky that Mr Chamisa did not become president as his misogyny appears to be incurable.

Gender activist Ms Nicole Hondo said it was pathetic of Mr Chamisa to discriminate against Min Coventry using age as he advocated for recognition of young people in politics.

"After all his pretence of advocating for generational renewal and young leadership, Chamisa mocks new Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry, describing her as a toddler who is only good at swimming and not good enough for a Cabinet post, pathetic," said Ms Hondo.

MDC spokesperson Ms Linda Masarira took to social media to ridicule Mr Chamisa, saying his choice of words should never be tolerated. Losing independent candidate for Mt Pleasant constituency, Advocate Fadzayi Mahere, said in a Twitter post: "I think the issue is why criticise her appointment? Let's be honest, the term "kamwana" (toddler) isn't complimentary. We had to fight the mindset of the establishment suggesting "kamwana" can't lead in the last election, so why call a sound professional in a position to serve that now?"

Another gender activist Ms Nyaradzo Mashayamombe said she was surprised that people were seeing Mr Chamisa's hypocrisy now. "Now if a 35-year-old can't be a minster with all her accomplishments, can a 40-year-old be president with all his immaturity and sexism?" she wrote on Twitter.

Mr Chamisa's disdain for women is historical and abrasive. He was recently slammed for objectifying and denigrating women after he allegedly said he would offer his 18-year-old sister to President Mnangagwa if he won the July 30 elections. His party has also been accused of disrespecting women, something it has never made a point of hiding from the time its youths harangued MDC-T leader Dr Thokozani Khupe calling her a "prostitute".

Most recently, MDC Alliance supporters were passing ludicrous sexist jibes at Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba.

In a damage limitation exercise, the MDC Alliance issued statements saying its leader meant no harm in his comments, as Mr Chamisa holds Min Coventry in high regard for "her lifetime of sacrifice in raising the Zimbabwe flag".

Mr Chamisa's spokesperson, Dr Nkululeko Sibanda, said his boss had praised and honoured Min Coventry by encouraging Zimbabweans to continue to respect and honour heroic sons and daughters. He said people must desist from bastardising the use of local languages.


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