Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has apologized to those who were hurt by his joke about marrying off his 18-year-old sister to Mnangagwa if he wins 5 percent of the vote in the coming elections, but he said the joke should have been a non-issue.
According to News24, Chamisa that although he was not sure why people took offence at his joke, he was "sincerely sorry" to those he "may have hurt".
He said that 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," Chamisa was quoted as saying.
"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," he said.
Chamisa told a rally in the United Kingdom at the weekend: “Ngwena tikaita election iri fair and free, akawana five percent ndinondomupa kana sisi vangu. Ndina sisi vakaita 18 manje manje vari kutsvaka murume. Akaigona Ngwena ndinondomuti huya utore sisi vangu ivavo.”
When some people started accusing him of sexism and disrespecting women, Chamisa told the British Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday: “What's disrespectful? She is the one who is looking for a husband. She is my sister, there is no sexism there. As far as I am concerned, it is part of our culture. When your sister is about to get married, as a brother you must help her."
This was despite warnings from some of his supporters that his joke would cost him dearly as it would detract from his key message because people would be talking about the joke rather than the key policy proposals he had suggested.