Police in Zimbabwe have arrested Evan Mawarire, a pastor, who started #ThisFlag, a social media movement encouraging citizens to speak out on poor governance, the ailing economy, corruption and poverty in the country. Mawarire is one of the activists and union leaders who masterminded the recent stay-away/“shutdown Zimbabwe” protest.
While Zimbabweans heeded calls by activists and union leaders, state media dismissed the mass-stay away and shutdown of the country as a “a monumental failure”. Jonathan Moyo, a government minister and former party spin doctor, has previously alleged that #ThisFlag was an initiative ‘founded and funded’ by the West and does not represent the concerns of the majority of Zimbabweans.
As a follow-up to last week’s protest, Pastor Mawarire has been calling for a two-day public stay away, schedule to start tomorrow, urging the government to address four major demands. The demands include putting a stop to police brutality, addressing rampant corruption, and calling for the government to commit to timeously paying civil servants.
Yesterday, Pastor Mawarire released a video, which chronicled that he had been ordered to report to police for questioning.
Been called in by Police for questioning tomorrow morning. We can no longer be silenced! #ThisFlag
— #ThisFlag E Mawarire (@PastorEvanLive) July 11, 2016
Earlier today, #ThisFlag posted on its Twitter page that its fiery leader had been, “charged with section 36 for inciting public violence and disturbing peace”.
— #ThisFlag 🇿🇼 (@ThisFlag1980) July 12, 2016
Social media has been going into meltdown on the arrest of Pastor Mawarire, calling for his release under the hashtag #FreePastorEvan
The arrest of #ThisFlag leader Pastor Evan Mawarire is significant. The calculus has shifted. This is a turning point. No doubt about it.
— Brezh Malaba (@BrezhMalaba) July 12, 2016
— Shingi Munyeza (@ShingiMunyeza) July 12, 2016
With a seemingly turning tide in Zimbabwe, arresting Pastor Evan Mawarire may be ZANU-PF hitting yet another nail into its political coffin
— Ryan Cummings (@Pol_Sec_Analyst) July 12, 2016