34 hilarious Tweets from Mmusi Maimane’s #AskMmusi Twitter Town Hall

Update: The author of this piece has reconsidered his views and written a piece explaining why. Read more: #AskMmusi: was Mmusi Maimane’s Twitter town hall actually a triumph?

Opening yourself up to Twitter is a risky business at the best of times. But when you’re a recently elected South African political leader dealing with one of the most cynical Twitter communities on the planet, then things can go very badly wrong.

That’s the lesson DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s had to find out the hard way today.

Viewed by many as the opposition party’s attempt to replicate the rapid rise of Barack Obama, Maimane is also seen by some to be an empty vessel for other political interests.

The 35-year-old Maimane is his party’s first black leader and drew wide praise for a speech he made to parliament earlier this year, in which he described president Jacob Zuma as a “broken man”.

In recent weeks however, he has drawn criticism for his religious beliefs (on weekends Maimane is a pastor at an evangelical church) and its stance towards homosexuality, as well as suggesting in a televised debate that South Africans should be able to vote in a referendum on the death penalty. Some suggested that this was a sign that he had failed to grasp basic tenets of the South African constitution.

Given all that, his communications team should perhaps have seen that now may not have been the best time to hold a Twitter town hall.

Nonetheless, they pressed ahead.

The results? They speak for themselves: number two on the worldwide trends and very few kind questions.

To be fair Maimane, did try and engage with the questions as best he could, even the more inane ones:



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