THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) has defended President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s refusal to engage MDC-T leader, Nelson Chamisa in a televised presidential debate, saying the youthful opposition leader should instead play such “kindergarten games” with his counterparts in the Zanu youth league.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda on Wednesday said there was no way Mnangagwa was ever going to stoop so low and enter a public debate with a political novice such as 40-year-old Chamisa.
“If Chamisa wants a debate, maybe he can engage the Zanu PF youth league that is his level. We can’t imagine the President taking time off serious bread and butter issues to respond to a goat that is scratching the walls from outside,” he said.
Zanu PF youth league is led by 57-year-old Pupurai Togarepi.
Matemadanda said Chamisa should first get simple economics right before thinking he can be at par with Mnangagwa.
“How can someone who does not know the basic cost of setting up a rail track for a bullet train debate with the President?” he asked.
Chamisa at 40 years has been endorsed as both MDC- T and MDC Alliance candidate ahead of the watershed elections.
Matemadanda said while war veterans respected the work Chamisa was doing in the opposition ensuring that democracy remained alive in Zimbabwe; he should desist from trying to bring Mnangagwa down to his level.
But MDC-T youth leader Happymore Chidziva dismissed the war veterans, saying they should know better that age does not breed wisdom.
“This is coming from people who for the past 37 years allowed this country to be run down by [former President] Robert Mugabe, they supported him and even killed for him in bloody elections, they should know that his age did not stop him from being a better leader,” he said.
Chidziva went further to accuse Matemadanda of insulting the majority of registered voters.
“According to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) statistics, the majority registered voters are in the age group which president Chamisa comes from, so to Zanu PF this is an age group of goats scratching the walls yet they want votes from them,” he queried.
The electorate has been demanding a public presidential debate in the mould of those held ahead of elections in Western and European countries.
Mugabe refused to engage in debates with political opponent the late Morgan Tsvangirai, but the coming in of the new dispensation had rekindled hope for an engaging debate.