By Trevor Makonyonga
The country’s top athlete at the moment, Tino Kadewere, has divided opinion on social media as a picture of him with President, Emmerson Mnangangwa emerged sparking a serious debate.
Although this issue would be considered petty in many societies, in recent sporting history one would easily remember how Mesut Özil’s visit to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ended his international career and most believe that this is the same reason that he is cut off at Arsenal.
Some Zimbabweans took to Twitter, to register their opinions on the issue.
One netizen, Steve Zwitter posted, “No more famba from me after that pfee moment. I hate that scarf and everyone who wears it. Pasi neZanu Pf.”
He added, “For someone like Tino who is flying the Zim flag high, I don’t see any problem for him to meet ED. The problem came when he wore that scarf. That scarf has little to do with ‘US’, it has become a symbol of oppression, vote rigging and nonsense. That’s why ED doesn’t put it off.”
Trade Unionists also commented on the picture asking Tino to send a message to the president.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) tweeted, “We love you @OL_English and we are proud of @tino_kadewere now that Tino can meet President @edmnangagwa we hope he will beg him to free a 53 year old widowed teacher who was jailed for asking for a salary raise. We know Tino’s influence can help protect the weak. #FreeSheila.”
After many people had criticised Tino for the photo, some came in full support of the Lyon forward.
“I don’t really understand why Tino’s pic with ED is trending. Many players pose for pictures with their President & everyone acts as if nothing happened. Visiting the one who is recognized as your countries President neither makes you political or partisan. Zim politics,” said Tinashe Maburu.
Gugulethu Moyo weighed in, “It’s called social engagement for the Lyon fans. Tino was brought to Lyon to score goals not to be voted for by Zimbabweans on twitter. And your votes haana basa nekuti haagohwese bhora wangu. (And your votes are not important because they are not the ones that score goals.)”
It is a trend to have influential athletes and artists visiting their leaders regardless of how popular or unpopular a leader is.
Some were criticising why Tino had to wear the scarf but it has to be known that having an athlete of his stature posing for a picture with the president in the scarf is good publicity for the nation’s leader.
The arguments can just be thrown away as petty and hopefully Tino’s form continues. He is a very good lad who doesn’t deserve unwarranted backlash because of a simple normal gesture!