President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba, has denied allegations that his boss breached the Electoral Act through his Facebook exhortation to the electorate not to vote for MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa ostensibly because he had struck a deal with former president Robert Mugabe.
In a wide ranging interview with the Daily News yesterday, Charamba said the two cases were incomparable.
“You don’t make your good case against ED by contrasting it against Chamisa, the two are different cases,” he said.
Asked if this was not tantamount to selective application of the law, the spin-doctor retorted:
“If a crime has been committed, it’s not validated by the man next door. It stands on its own merits or demerits (is that not so?). If you tweet something on social media, on your account, then someone in the newsroom decides it’s newsworthy, who do you blame?
“That’s why you notice that both ZBC and The Herald were insistent that they picked up the report from Facebook account of HE (His Excellency). You follow?
“You are directing your message to what is called a virtual community. And a virtual community does not vote, do you understand? If you decide to translate from my Facebook account into your newsroom, that’s an editorial decision, it’s not a writer’s decision, sir.”
Charamba denied that Mnangagwa had panicked over the electoral strategic alliance between Mugabe and Chamisa, and denied it could swing the vote.
“Has it swung your vote?” he asked rhetorically.
He suggested the alliance was not in any way a boon for Chamisa but was in fact a kiss of death.
“The word swing suggests a pendulum movement, to and from (is that not so?) And who tells you the swing is only in one direction? It therefore ceases to be a swing, it becomes a forward march. Do you know what the real answer is? Let’s wait and see the results,” he said.
Asked what he thought were the legal implications of the report to the police amid reports it renders the candidates reported to the cops ineligible for a run-off, Charamba said: “I can’t talk about that. One, I’m not the police, I’m not Zec, three I’m not Chamisa, so let’s talk about ED, that’s where I am. Chamisa has got a (spokesperson Nkululeko) Sibanda to defend him’’.
Asked to comment on specific accusation of selective application of the law in this instance, he said: “Why don’t you wait until that complaint translates into the opening of a docket, in which case the wheels of justice start turning. You are running too far ahead of processes, and for me, what it suggests, it betrays your fussy concern with a candidate rather than worrying about due processes.”
Asked if the police report was not a sly move to scuttle Chamisa’s presidential bid in the event the election goes to the wire and there is need for a run-off, Charamba said: “Again you are making one huge jump. Who says there is a run-off or there is no run-off. But, surely, in the event there isn’t?” he asked rhetorically.
He proceeded: “If it was in literature, you know that’s my world, you are inviting me to suspend disbelief.”
Told the likelihood of a run-off was validated by the latest opinion poll by the authoritative Afrobarometer, Charamba denied that there was a statistical dead heat.
“Haiwa, why are we going to vote if opinion polls govern this country? Why did you go to vote today? The pollsters would have been kingmakers if opinion polls were anything to go by. Second to my contempt for social media, are pollsters.”
Told that this was a scientific poll by the credible Afrobarometer which commissioned the credible Mass Public Opinion Institute to do the fieldwork, Charamba contemptuously retorted: “Why should you worry about pollsters, let’s wait for the result.”