'I'm sorry to those I may have hurt with my joke,' says MDC leader Chamisa

Nelson Chamisa (File: AFP)
Nelson Chamisa (File: AFP)

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has "sincerely apologised" for his gender insensitive political banter that caused social media outrage this week.

Chamisa came under fire after he joked that he would give his sister, 18, to Emmerson Mnangagwa if the Zimbabwean leader won the forthcoming elections. 

According to New Zimbabwe.com, Chamisa said this while addressing his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party supporters in the United Kingdom.

"If Mnangagwa wins 5% in a free election, I will give him my sister. I have a sister who just turned 18 and looking for a husband.

"I am betting on this because I know it won’t happen," Chamisa was quoted as saying.

He said this to wild applause from his supporters.

Chamisa's utterances immediately torched a storm, with social media users saying that he did not deserve to be a leader, as his utterances reinforced "human trafficking" and "abuse against women".

Free and fair election

But in a interview with News24, Chamisa said that he did not mean to cause any harm when he made the comments.

He said that although he was not sure why people took offence at his joke, he was "sincerely sorry" to those he "may have hurt".

Chamisa said the joke was an "illustration" meant to show the ruling Zanu-PFs inability to "win in a free and fair election".

"If anyone felt hurt about the joke I am sorry. It was just a political banter that I used to illustrate that even if I promised to give him (Mnangagwa) my most prized position, he would still not be able to defeat us in a free and fair election," said Chamisa. 

Chamisa also lashed out at opportunistic political rivals who he said used the political banter to "score cheap political points".

"The joke should have been a non-issue, because most Zimbabweans are worried about issues of survival. This is just a sideshow that is being used by irrelevant people to score cheap political points at my expense," said Chamisa.

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