Zimbabweans on social media have taken up the #ChamisaChallenge, a tongue-in-cheek response to opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s claim at a weekend political rally that he advised Rwanda on its progressive IT policy.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame tweeted on Wednesday that he’d never met Chamisa.
Chamisa politely responded with a photograph of the two shaking hands at a conference in Geneva when Chamisa was IT minister in Zimbabwe’s 2009-2013 coalition government.
The exchange between Kagame and Chamisa immediately sparked a hashtag phenomenon with some hilarious tweets on amazing things Zimbabweans imagined the 40-year-old lawyer might have done during his relatively short political career.
“#ChamisaChallenge. Chamisa is one of the guys with the Coca-Cola recipe. Only Chamisa knows the other guy,” said @Marqusim.
“I’m the one who bit that Apple on the iPHone #ChamisaChallenge,” wrote @Lawmbo
Suggested @NLNKarimakwenda: “Chamisa told the Zambezi river how to flow, so that Victoria Falls can be a benefit to the tourism industry in Zimbabwe #ChamisaChallenge.”
Chamisa’s use of hyperbole during his campaign ahead of presidential elections on July 30 hasn’t always been met favourably. A claim he made in January that US President Donald Trump had promised Zimbabwe $15 billion if the MDC wins elections was denied by the US embassy in Harare.
His pledges to create new airports, highways and bullet trains have also been met with derision by some critics.
Not everyone saw the funny side of #ChamisaChallenge though.
Journalist Nqaba Matshazi pointed out the hypocrisy of Zimbabweans ragging Chamisa about alleged untruths when the ruling Zanu-PF is no angel.
A good laugh
“ZANU-PF lied about jobs, lied about the economy, lied about investment, lied about everything but your favs are quiet, only to wake up with the #ChamisaChallenge. We deserve Zanu PF and its lies,” tweeted Matshazi.
But even Chamisa supporters said they welcomed the #ChamisaChallenge as a breath of fresh air.
“I am voting for @nelsonchamisa and still had a good laugh at #Chamisachallenge cos it was funny! That’s the Zimbabwe we want where we can make fun of our president without fear of being arrested under some archaic ‘undermining office of the president’ law,” wrote Baynham Goredema.