BBC HARDtalk does not influence electorate


Perhaps nothing, in the past week, set tongues wagging as the BBC HARDtalk interview that had MDC Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa, as a guest.

By Learnmore Zuze

It would appear a lot is now being picked and pinned on the widely publicised interview.

Key among the words that have been used in this tough interview is the word “grilling”.

So excited were Chamisa’s opponents that he had been “exposed”; not only did they feel Chamisa had been embarrassed, but also that the entire opposition in Zimbabwe had been exposed as lacking depth.

It should be grasped that HARDtalk interviewer, Stephen Sackur, for those who regularly watch the programme, never deviated from his policy of negative interviewing.

HARDtalk, from years gone by, operates on the chief premises of rattling and unsettling the interviewee.

The ultimate goal of the HARDtalk interview is to confuse, contradict and antagonise the interviewee.

It is no wonder that Sackur would use purely insulting words like “silly” in talking to Chamisa.

There was no mistake at all on Sackur’s part.

It is always part of the script at HARDtalk to get the interviewee unnerved.

HardTalk is focused on the negatives.

It is, therefore, mindboggling why some would rejoice that Chamisa was “grilled” on the BBC programme.

That is the nature of their questioning.

As a matter of record, there are no sacred cows on that programme.

Well known political giants have been rattled to the point of becoming violent on the programme.

And this is to be expected, because what a HARDtalk interviewer does is to literally provoke their guest.

They actually stir up their guest with the intention of exposing them and letting them let out everything in a fit of rage.

Former Malawian president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, refused to entertain questions in a similar interview after he deemed it insulting.

He literally told the interviewer, “I can’t tell you anything”.

The late MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirayi flatly refused to go on the programme.

Chamisa, in my view, for his political experience, actually held his own against the seasoned “insulter” in Sackur.

Chamisa remained calm throughout, even when he was fundamentally unable to give convincing answers.

Even more, he took the direct insults with grace, choosing instead to remain focused on the answers to the questions.

If Hillary Clinton could turn violent in the face of questions, if Robert Mugabe could get livid and trade insults with the interviewer, one has to appreciate the maturity and composure maintained by Chamisa.

If Sackur is an honest man, he will admit that he failed in his ultimate objective to rattle his guest.

Coming to the issues of the shortfalls seen through in the interview, it must be admitted that there are certain areas that definitely had Chamisa not adequately or rather unconvincingly answering the interviewer.

HARDtalk may have been an awful platform, with only a few months to go to election.

History will record that no one, and I mean no one, has came out “victorious” at the tough programme.

In any case, how does one come out victorious when negatives and controversies are heavily thrown at them?

I hold the view that the decision to go on HARDtalk may not have been the best given the beckoning elections. It is tantamount to bringing to the fore things unnecessary to the electorate.

This is not the time to have one’s weaknesses brought to the fore for whatever reason. It was actually surprising that ZBC would want to air such a programme, knowing their stance on opposition.

However, all said and done, the truth is this: BBC HARDtalk does not, in the slightest, influence political perceptions in Zimbabwe.

It is for academic politics and sets people talking, but honestly does nothing in the way of shifting political fortunes.

At the end of it all, it’s the people of Zimbabwe who matter; it’s Zimbabweans who choose their next leader.

That the incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa did not impress in an interview two months ago does not hold water in a Zimbabwean election. The same is very true for Chamisa; no opposition supporter, worth his salt, would leave his party ideals all because of a hostile interview held in a foreign land.

Chamisa, to those who have a grasp of the aims of HARDtalk, can affirm that the opposition candidate indeed came out the winner of the day.

Learnmore Zuze is a law officer and writes in his own capacity. E-mail


  1. The writer is wrong, the interview did have an effect on the electorate and you can find out by just having a simple chat in the hood with people on what they think about Chamisa now. Chamisa has great potential and energy but lately he has done and said a few things that have removed weight from his campaign, its probably because he is surrounded by shallow advisors. Chamisa speaks as if he is talking to kindergarten kids whose minds are not as developed as his and that is going to cost him. Before he started campaining, he had the backing of the people as he was seen as a suitable alternative to Zanu PF but Chamisa wacho zvaanotaura ka hazvina huremu and his strategy has no weight. It is a fact that the BBC interview did damage to him. Just talk to a random person on your way into town mukombi or a private car and thats when you realise that the interview and other things that have happend have had a negative effect on his campaign. He has potential and he has so much energy but ane kamwe kadzungu soo and he lacks good advisors. Personally i dont think Chamisa can win the elections, but i could be wrong regai tione.

  2. or loose chamisa ane maqualities ehutungamiriri tarisai impact yaaita kwenguva pfupi yaatora hushe hwemdc kunyangwe akakundika ngaazvivake nerimwe zuva achahubata humambo hwembiri. even ivo vamunaz vakahwina ngavashande naye mfana uyu coz he is the future

  3. Learnmore Zuze usanyepa zvenhema. Unoda Chamisa and ungaedza kutaura kuti kudii but BBC Hardtalk has exposed kuti Chamisa anonyepa. Aibvunzwa zvaaitaura kwete zvaasina kutaura
    1. Bullet train yake will take 35 minutes from Harare to Bulawayo [440km which means 800km/hr] yet the fastest bullet train in the world is around 350km/hour
    2. 15 billion from USA
    3. Will chase away Chinese investors
    4. Solve cash crisis within 2 weeks
    With such promises he is bound to loose support from other countries, donors and other supporters.

  4. Comment…Your observations are noted. However, the reality of the matter is that there is no better candidate at the moment.Seems he is the best of the worst. I’m sure you will agree Zimbabwe needs some kind of a fresh start. Continuing with what we have currently have Uuum Nyika yatambura. Imagine a future with this Zanu system. God help us! But we should play our role come election.

  5. he should listen to seasoned speakers and not be like a newspaper which publishes articles which have not been proofread and edited. when asked to explain pathetic articles, “that is an imitation of our paper, read today’s edition” is a good answer for us Zimbabweans, but not for the rest of the world.

  6. Learnmore need to learnmore for sure.Chamisa blundered in his answers about $15 billion from USA, chasing away Chinese if he wins election, alleged zanu pf members who wanted to burn my mum MaKhupe in Buhera.He denied what he said back home to the extend of alleging that it was said by other people not him.every corner of the street you go people are talking about this.KUREVA NHEMA KWANYANYA, Lets not support such behaviour from someone addressed as Advocate and Pastor.If he can just be real he has the chance.Another tip for Nelson, when you are campaigning do not talk about ZANU PF because unenge uchitokambena for them.Again Chamisa should know the audience he is addressing.Remember Zimbabwe literacy rate is the best in Africa saka vanhu can reason.Uchaitwa chiseko chenyika Chamisa.

  7. Chamisa is not as smart as people think and Hardtalk was the right platform to expose his shallowness.A rally is not the best platform for such as it is one way communication most times consisting of blind and deaf followers who are simply exsta

  8. kutaura chokwadi chemazvokwadi chamisa wakanyadziswa nhema dzaakareva dzakaburitswa pachena chakarashika chikomana ichi nokunyepa

  9. The writer seems to reside in some galaxy in outer space and should have done a mini survey across a wide zim demography before writing and hear what people are saying about this Chamisa disaster. Even my gardener who is a die-hard MDC supporter wasnt impressed as for him, this interview revealed Chamisa’s lying streak.He was very evasive and vacillated on the Chinese issue as well as sanctions. He is not the greatest candidate there is but for the sake of change, we might just follow him into nothingness ahead.

  10. I don’t view HARDTalk as a negative show at all. I think it is exactly that – hard talk. It’s meant, in my view, to extract the truth in relation to what those being interviewed have done or said. I think NC actually maintained his composure very well but the facts of what he had said before weighed in on him.
    The word silly was used to describe an idea NOT the person of NC. I’m sure most readers are aware that when a person is described as wise, it does not follow that everything he says or does is wise, there are stupid and silly things we all say and do, and HARDtalk brings them to the fore…

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