MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s rallies ahead of the July 30 elections eventually won by President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zanu PF) attracted bumper crowds that had an opportunity to be titillated by the young politician’s jokes — many of which were centred on his main rival.
Chamisa’s speeches were laden with satire and witticism such that people would break into laughter every time he was on the podium.
At some point he would address rallies deep into the night with the people still in attendance.
“Chamisa was too hilarious at his rallies. He had a mystic, charismatic and reverent power such that naturally people would want to listen to him. He would relate well with the elderly due to his rich vernacular remarks,” former Marondera mayor, Farai Nyandoro, told NewsDay Weekender.
Laughter was the order of the day as Chamisa would interpret the party’s SMART programme in satirical terms while “dissing” Mnangagwa, his arch-rival.
“ED asked me where I will get the money to implement all these projects. I told him we are in an examination. We do not give each other answers,” said Chamisa in Chivhu during his campaign trail.
In Marondera, he left the crowd in stitches when he described how good life was going to be if he had become the country’s next president.
“Ndapinda bedzi mucharohwa nehwadzira, nemunhikwi wemufaro. Kutemwa musoro nemufaro, zvekuti ukaenda kuchipatara ukanzi chii chanetsa unongoti mufaro (You are going to enjoy and laugh so much that you will experience hiccups and if you were to be taken to the hospital, you would tell them you are suffering from too much joy),”he said.
His jokes were crafted in such a way that he would leave people in awe before re-crafting the statement, resulting in people breaking into laughter and cheers.
“Avo vanenge vabatwa HIV, tinongoti rovai mapiritsi votopora, modzokera kunonakirwazve, kunonakidzwa naJah Prayzah naMacheso (Those that test HIV positive will easily access their medication and go back to have fun, dancing to Jah Prayzah and Alick Macheso’s music),” Chamisa said at a rally in Murewa.
In response to Zanu PF’s tradition of frog-marching schoolchildren to rallies, Chamisa likened the Zanu PF leader to a headmaster.
“Ndakaona mudhara Ngwena akukokorodza vana vechikoro kuenda nawo kurally, ndikati iwe mudhara iwe uri headmaster here or head boy (When I saw Zanu PF commandeering pupils to Mnangagwa’s rallies, I asked him, are you a headmaster or school head boy),” Chamisa said.
The clock ticked, and on July 30 the nation voted for leaders of their choice. When Mnangagwa was announced the winner, all the laughter turned into sorrow and bitterness.
The hilarious jokes that triggered their happiness at rallies are no longer powerful enough to torch laughter as people go back to the lives to eke out a living for their families with all the bright prospects for the future having been dashed to pieces.
Newly-elected MDC Alliance Marondera Central MP, Caston Matewo, said Chamisa’s conduct on stage worked well in winning him the millions of votes that he garnered.
“I think he only showed that he was human and more in sync with the crowd, hence he connected more with them. It worked well and this is revealed by the number of votes,” he said.
It was a different tale altogether during Zanu PF rallies where a number of supporters would walk out during speeches.
But today those who walked out are the ones laughing last. The opposition party followers will now have to wait five more years to resume those hilarious episodes. For now, the laughter has turned into sorrow and mourning.