BBC’s HardTalk. Goodness me, I had no idea the programme was such a big deal until today. I only ever watched about 3 episodes of it. The first time I watched it was by mistake, I fell asleep on the sofa only to wake up in the middle of the night to a woman, some Sudanese politician I think, being grilled and interrupted as she tried to answer questions on BBC.
BY JEAN GASHO
So I got intrigued by the programme and looked it up, I couldn’t understand why the poor woman who seemed so genuine was getting so much stick. That’s how I got to learn of HardTalk. Then the other few episodes of it I watched were coincidental, its not like I ever went out of my way to watch it.
Then today, alas, for the first time I searched for it. I had to make time to sit down and watch a full episode of HardTalk.
My whatsaap and social media was flooded by the news of Zimbabwe’s MDC President Nelson Chamisa going on the programme. The news of it all was how Nelson Chamisa was supposedly grilled during the interview. The interview was apparently ‘out of Chamisa’s depth’. Most saying he was such a small boy and couldn’t handle it.
The hashtag #hardtalk was a trend today on Zimbabwe social media. I don’t think I have ever seen such excitement about an interview before, especially one where the journalist is being treated as some sort of supreme God.
Today, HardTalk was some sort of HOLY GROUND which only the strongest human beings can survive. Poor young Chamisa was not ‘polished’ enough for this ‘supreme BBC programme’.
I don’t know if this is how the rest of Africa reacts when a politician goes on HardTalk, but for Zimbabweans it’s the biggest thing to happen since creation.
Dear Zimbabweans, its just a BBC programme, created with the intention of giving guests hard hitting questions that they feel uncomfortable to talk about. That’s the script of the programme. It’s not like something unheard of happened to Nelson Chamisa, that’s what happens with thousands of guests who have been on the show.
Some guests have literally walked out of interviews, some have refused to answer questions. And a lot of interesting people even refuse to go on it. So please, calm down a little.
HardTalk is not the beginning and end of interviews. It’s not the ultimate standard of truth. A politician’s morality and capability is not measured by BBC’s HardTalk. Stephen Sakur is a man just like you and me, he’s also just doing a job to put food on his table.
No politician will win or lose an election because of a BBC Hardtalk Interview.
Nelson Chamisa is not the first Zimbabwean to go on the programme. Joyce Mujuru went on it and was asked way more difficult ‘important’ questions especially about Gukurahundi.
I’ve been quiet watching the whole election campaign drama sipping my cup of coffee scrolling through my feed, but this HardTalk saga almost got me chocked today watching all the exaggerated excitement, as if Nelson Chamisa had been literally shot and killed by an interview.
I never paid attention to Chamisa until a few days ago when I read somewhere that he made a joke about selling off his young sister to be Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife. I found the joke to be in such bad taste and disgusting, considering the plight of the African girl child.
So today when I heard of how Chamisa was ‘roasted alive’ and grilled on HardTalk, I thought obviously he would have been asked to explain why as a politician and presidential candidate, would he make such an offensive ‘joke’ about women and girls.
But no, the roasting was mainly about some stupid lies he made about meeting Donald Trump.
In his fairness, I have heard Hillary Clinton tell bigger lies than that. I have heard Barack Obama tell bigger lies that.
Here in the UK, talk about the Windrush scandal, certainly bigger lies with serious consequences on peoples lives have been told.
So if asking Nelson Chamisa why hes been telling porkies about meeting Trump is ‘being grilled’, then from today, ‘grilling’ has a new meaning.
Every Zimbabwean talking about the interview on social media actually proves that Nelson Chamisa is a winner. He now has the whole country talking about him, and that’s actually positive for him. Nelson Chamisa has given HardTalk the X-Factor. Now every Zimbabwean knows about the programme.
I am not a supporter of Nelson Chamisa, but fair play to him. He must have some charisma and anointing on him.
Why do I get a feeling that the British government and media is against him winning the presidential election.
A few days ago a British professor of African History took to Tweeter, describing Chamisa as out of depth and over excited about winning an election.
The criticism from Diana Jeater was a little over the top. And for the record, I understand where Chamisa was coming from about Zimbabweans working in the NHS. There are over 100 000 Zimbabweans in the UK and most of them work in the NHS.
I remember when I was a nurse in the NHS, I would at times work entire shifts with all of the staff, or most being Zimbabwean. So Chamisa did have a point.
Now back to HardTalk, Stephen Sakur must be thanking his gods, this episode with Chamisa was such a huge success thanks to Zimbabweans. Other personalities have been ‘grilled’ worse than Chamisa but the show never got this attention and publicity.
What I learnt about Nelson Chamisa today is, love him or hate him, every Zimbabwean is talking about him. The International media is watching him. He has a lot of critics, but a lot of supporters too.
Whether he is a good politician or not, it’s neither here nor there. Whether he is the right person to be the next president of Zimbabwe is neither here nor there too.
The fact of the matter is he is running for presidency and he is determined to win. If the elections are free and fair, he has every chance of winning, in fact more chance than Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Zimbabweans, do not be so quick to dismiss Nelson Chamisa. The ‘best’ candidates don’t always win. Remember Donald Trump, no one ever thought it would happen, but he continued running the race, whilst the world laughed and mocked, and today he sits on the throne of one of the most powerful countries in the world.
For me when I watched the interview, I saw a winner, he was calm and composed, and did well answering the so called ‘difficult’ questions, even when he was lying. That was not the face of a loser, but a determined winner.
He maybe the guy that Zimbabweans laughed at for being ‘grilled’ by a white man on BBC, God knows he has so many flaws, the one I detest the most is how he feels the desperate need to be loved and accepted by white people, but other than that, he maybe the one to have the last laugh, and this interview will serve as a reminder and lesson to you all.