PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba yesterday torched a storm when he “insulted” South African journalist Sophie Mokoena following their protracted debate on South Africa’s involvement in Zimbabwean politics.
Using the handle @Jamwanda2, Charamba has been attacking Mokoena on microblogging site Twitter since last week while reacting angrily to South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pledge to dispatch a team of envoys to meet all stakeholders in Zimbabwe’s multifaceted crisis.
But Charamba insisted Zimbabwe was not in a crisis, accusing South Africa of being the least capable country to offer help to Zimbabwe.
He said South Africa was the youngest democracy in the region whose status in Sadc was questionable due to the continued dominance of the Afrikaners.
Mokoena has, however, been insisting Zimbabwe was in a crisis, forcing a showdown on Twitter with Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, who yesterday, in apparent attack to the South African scribe, said he would “rather keep quiet like a well-behaved man, lest that fool will go on her menstrual cycle if I respond”.
His tweet triggered an outcry, with many accusing him of being sexist and misogynistic. They also claim Charamba’s carefree attitude mirrored that of ruling Zanu-PF party.
Gladys Hlatywayo, MDC Alliance’s secretary for international relations, said coming after an unfortunate development where Zanu-PF director for information Tafadzwa Mugwadi also insulted another foreign journalist using unprintable words, it showed a collective psyche of Zanu-PF.
“This is their psyche! We are dealing with mentally deranged misogynists who are drunk with power and who think they are invincible,” Hlatywayo said.
“To think it actually came out of a whole presidential spokesperson and deputy secretary to Cabinet directed at a foreign journalist is more than a tragedy! But it is an indication of his government’s attitude towards women in general.”
She added: “It shows you how low we have sunk as a country and the magnitude of the Zimbabwean crisis that his government is so keen to dismiss. It is disgraceful and shameful to say the least!”
MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said Zanu-PF was proving to be a national embarrassment and that it was incapable of engaging in rational debate.
“When confronted with evidence of their failure, they resort to insults, expletives and misogyny. They have failed. This is additional proof that the state of our governance is in crisis,” Mahere said.
Bulawayo Central MP Dorcas Sibanda (MDC Alliance) said Charamba’s “sexist” statements showed the true colours of the regime and the leadership crisis that “we have as a country”.
“What Charamba has just said exposes the kind of government we have,” she said
Mutumwa Mawere, South Africa based Zimbabwe businessman, also ridiculed Charamba over his statement.
“He further asserts that if he were to dignify responding to her, she would in broad daylight go on her periods. He then proposes to be silent otherwise he may be confused for a fool. This is the President’s spokesperson who uses this tone!” Mawere tweeted.-News Day