Zimbabwean leader’s reference to Raila as “mzee” sparks social media storm

Zimbabwean opposition leader Nelson Chamisa found himself on the receiving end from NASA supporters online, when he referred to the political outfit’s leader, Raila Odinga, as “mzee” in his tweet.

Mr Chamisa ‘controversially’ captioned a photo showing him receiving Mr Odinga at the airport on Monday, February 19.

He tweeted: “At the airport to welcome president MT’s friend – Kenya’s Mzee Raila Odinga. Mzee will be paying his last respects to his dear friend and Cde DR. MT at Humanikwa Village in Buhera tomorrow morning (Tuesday, February 20).”

Mr Chamisa’s reference to Mr Odinga as “mzee”; and not the “people’s president” rubbed NASA supporters the wrong way.

In their hundreds, they took to the Twitter post to react.

Winnie Ogenche said:” You messed. It is H.E Raila Amollo Odinga, not mzee.”

Zimbabwean online user by the name Chihota Spencer enquired from Winnie: “Feel me in, what does Mzee mean?”

Winnie responded: “old man (adds disappointed face emoji).”

Another user by the name Japheth Odonya faulted Winnie’s response, saying:‏ “Winnie you are misleading, mzee in this context means elder . One of those words that are interpreted contextually.”

Winnie, in the same thread, retorted: “But he could have not used that mzee, leaving out words like Mr President.”

A seemingly annoyed Lawrence Odhiambo Nyanga tweeted: “@nelsonchamisa, you call our ‘president’ mzee? Very bad.”

Another online user by the name Edwin echoed Lawrence’s sentiments. He wrote: “That’s people’s president, not mzee. You should know the real title. That’s our father of democracy here in Kenya.”

Though, it is not all online users who felt offended by the ‘mzee’ reference used on Mr Odinga.

Mutye Nyoka said: “Chamisa smart enough not to mound more misery on himself by evading calling Odinga ‘His Excellency.’ Nice one.”

Mr Tsvangirai, who succumbed to colon cancer on February 14, was buried on Tuesday, February 20.

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