Anyone who is updated with the recent happenings in Zimbabwe will be acquainted with the name Evan Mawarire. The Pastor who began the #ThisFlag campaign is being hailed as a hero of the people.
The Pastor has won over Zimbabweans both at home and in the diaspora who have gotten tired of the politicians in the country and the way that they are handling affairs. He began his battle on social media calling for an end to the country’s economic woes with the hashtag #ThisFlag. Lately they have been pushing a stay-away campaign for scheduled dates in the month to protest perceived corruption and economic mismanagement.
His efforts got him arrested and he was charged with inciting violence, and then at the last minute, the state added subversion to the charge. His lawyers had successfully argued that that would deny him a fair trial. At the end, the magistrate threw out the charges by the state prosecutor who had been intending to prove that Mawarire was trying to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.
After the victory at court, Mawarire refused to back down, pushing the #ThisFlag agenda with the same flair. One Zimbabwean in the UK, Tawada Sibotshiwe (who is obviously a fan), spent hours on Photoshop to create an image of Mr. Mawarire as superhero “Captain Zimbabwe”. In explaining why he did so, the Sibotshiwe said;
“I did it with the younger generation of Zimbabwe in mind who might not understand what the struggle in Zimbabwe is about.”
Speaking with the BBC, Evan Mawarire revealed that his first stint with politics happened at a second school which he was moved to after getting bad grades in his previous school. he said he had thrived at that second school so much so that he was nominated as a child parliamentarian to represent Harare.
Zimbabwe’s child parliament mirrors its real legislative chamber with each constituency having a representative on the body. In the child parliament, Evan Mawarire rose to child president. It was in that role that he was able to meet President Mugabe. Speaking of that first encounter, Evan Mawarire says that it was full of “respect and admiration”.
He went on;
“It’s 23 years now since I met him. He was my hero then…today I look back and say: ‘What changed?’ Either I grew up or he messed up big time for sure.”
So what indeed happened? Did Evan Mawarire just grow up and loose his childlike wonder at a great man or has President Mugabe messed up in some big way to bring Zimbabwe to the state it is in now?