ED ‘chickens out’ out of TV presidential debate with Chamisa
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has declined to be drawn into a public presidential debate on national television after MDC-T’s presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa had challenged him to one.
Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba yesterday said his boss was not keen to engage his political opponents in a public debate, arguing that the ruling Zanu PF party did not attach much value to such engagements.
“I don’t think we are likely to get it at all because we don’t find any value at all. One key component in political communication is go straight to the voter and they are many ways of doing it outside a presidential debate,” he said.
Presidential debates on TV are quite popular indemocratic nations, with candidates given an equal platform to defend their manifestos.
But Charamba said Mnangagwa would not be arm twisted into exposing his election strategies to the opposition.
“If you are a clever political player, you don’t fit into the strategy of your opponent, it’s up to the President and Zanu PF to decide whether or not the presidential debate does advance their own communication strategy. If it does, you will have it and if it doesn’t, you won’t have it,” he said.
He dismissed Chamisa as a “juvenile” who was excitable and renting roving crowds to create an image that he was a popular figure ahead of the polls.
“Zanu PF is visible, but not in opposition terms. We are fixing the economy and dealing with bread and butter issues, which, at the end of the day, determine how the voter behaves on the day, but more importantly, we have our schedule. We don’t copy an opponent’s strategy, you pursue your own.
What I see really is a juvenilian response to an election that looms large, but a mature party is not excited and excitable, but takes its sweet time and as we move towards the election, the mighty machinery of Zanu PF will be unleashed,” he said.