Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
GENDER activists yesterday slammed MDC Alliance presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa for objectifying and denigrating women after he allegedly said he would offer his 18-year-old sister to President Mnangagwa if he loses the forthcoming elections.
Addressing a rally in Bedford in the United Kingdom over the weekend, Mr Chamisa told party supporters that he would give away his sister if President Mnangagwa managed to get just five percent of the total vote in a free and fair election.
“If Mnangagwa wins five percent in a free election, I will give him my sister. I have a sister who just turned 18 and looking for a husband. I’m betting on this because I know it won’t happen,” said the MDC-T leader.
His sentiments were received with disgust in the country as politicians, gender activists and ordinary citizens rounded on the gaffe-prone opposition leader for his mysogynistic views and disrespecting women.
MDC-T breakaway party spokesperson Ms Linda Masarira slammed Mr Chamisa saying his disregard for women should never be tolerated.
“It shows that he has no regard for women in this country. And you can compare it with the way he has treated women in his own party, the way he treated Madam Thokozani Khupe. It really shows that he has no regard whatsoever for women because you cannot trade your own sister for political mileage. Even if he wants to call it a joke, you cannot joke about such sensitive issues in this day and age,” said Ms Masarira.
In a message posted on Twitter, human rights lawyer Mr Doug Coltart castigated Mr Chamisa for being sexist while slamming him for viewing women as objects.
“This kind of sexist joke might get the crowd laughing but it detracts from your overall message, @nelsonchamisa. People will be talking about this rather than your policy proposals. Worst of all, it perpetuates patriarchal norms that women are property. You’re better than this,” he wrote.
Another micro blogger, Dr Chipo Dendere, ridiculed Mr Chamisa saying at his age he should have some sense.
“Wow @nelsonchamisa this is shameless and a new low. You would give your 18-year-old sister like some property? This is some level of misogynistic sexist BS that I am failing to can with. You’re 40-years-old for crying out loud (sic) – young enough to have some level of respect,” she wrote.
Writing on her Facebook page, gender activist Ms Nyaradzo Mashayamombe said the country should seriously think before considering electing people like Mr Chamisa to power.
“Today Chamisa promises to pledge his 18-year-old sister if ED Mnangagwa wins the election by five percent. The very fact that he finds it in his vocabulary and mouth that he can justify pledging a human being reduces all women to just objects that man can bait with in politics just like former slave masters baited over human beings when they played some games (sic),” said Ms Mashayamombe.
“This is sickening; the deepest level of disgust that I can’t describe. If as women we can find our self supporting such actions time and time again and still see Chamisa as a fit potential president with the best interests of women at heart, we must look ourselves in the mirror and think again.”