OPPOSITION MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa caused another stir this time over a red carpet initially reserved for President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the Thursday national prayer meeting organized by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches.
Chamisa has hogged the limelight in the past few weeks albeit for controversial stunts at national hero and music legend Oliver Mtukudzi’s funeral wake. First his “motorcade” was barred from driving onto the National Sports Stadium pitch at a National Arts Council organized farewell gala.
As if this was not enough Chamisa was again in the eye of a storm after a scuffle with security details at Mtukudzi’s Madziva home were the late music icon was laid to rest as he tried to make his way to the top table while Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri who stood in for Mnangagwa was delivering the key-note address.
Chamisa who earlier had indicated his unwillingness to attend the prayer meeting arrived with his entourage and wanted to make his way in through the red carpet but organizers stopped him.
“There was an almost five minute stand-off as Chamisa demanded to be allowed to walk on the red carpet. However security details and organizing officials would have none of it.
“There was a near scuffle before Chamisa relented,” the Zim Morning Post heard from those close to the scuffle.
A senior MDC Alliance official who spoke on condition of anonymity said organizers threatened to remove the carpet if Chamisa insisted.
“They almost removed it but realizing the embarrassment that would come with such an incident, Chamisa decided against forcing the issue,” she said.
Mnangagwa had been billed to deliver the key-note address at the event but bailed out at the eleventh hour for what his spokesperson George Charamba said was an “emergency” connected to his panned trip to Ethiopia.
In his speech to the gathering Chamisa who refused to attend a meeting to craft the framework for political dialogue convened by Mnangagwa said he was ready to meet the Zanu PF leader without the other presidential contestants that he described as “inconsequential.” Chamisa insisted he would not meet Mnangagwa as the country’s number one but as leader of Zanu PF.
“I am ready to meet the President even here at the hotel if there is a room. I am not saying President because our dispute (over election results) has been resolved. He is President of his party and I am president of my party,” the former Kuwadzana East lawmaker said.