#Zimbabwe - ThisFlag leader and activist for change in Zimbabwe, #pastor evan mawarire returned from his self-imposed exile in the United States knowing that with the Mugabe Regime, the chances he would be arrested were very high. This return and his subsequent arrest make the man a martyr and the world loves a martyr.
Zimbabwe first arrested Mawarire in July 2016
In July last year, Mawarire was arrested and the courts played a justice parody with court delays and dodgy legal tactics to take his initial charge from that of disturbing the peace to a treasonable charge of attempting under Section 22 (2) of the Criminal Law (Codification & Reform) Act to subvert a constitutional government. In an emotional scene, his lawyers managed to secure his unconditional release. A few days later the pastor appeared in South Africa, where he met with students, Zimbabweans in the diaspora and influential political activists.
Watch the crowds celebrate Mawarire's release in July
Mawarire's initial arrest propelled the activist into the world spotlight. What was a regional group of people trying to effect change in the country hit the world stage after his arrest, trial, and release and by mid-August he was in the USA addressing the Atlantic Council in New York. His move to the USA left many of his supporters disappointed and cracks in the ThisFlag movement started to appear, as a wave of arrests for participating in peaceful protests in Zimbabwe Harare fostered bitterness. It was widely said on social media by suspected Zimbabwe Intelligence and Security agents that Mawarire was in fact, a CIA operative and had left his followers in the lurch while he lived the life of Riley at their expense in the USA. It was argued by ThisFlag leadership that he had not run away from Zimbabwe, but was doing a good job in the western world spreading the need for change in Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, the movement did splinter and many fell away in the face of a brutal crackdown by the Zimbabwe Police.
Watch Pastor Evan address the Atlantic Council below
It seems that this address was the root cause of Evan's current arrest. At that conference, he mentioned the big New York protest that he was arranging at the UN General Assembly in September. Although the protest was not as large as many people hoped, and they were trolled by Zimbabwe government paid protesters, they did make their mark in the streets of New York. After Mawarire returned to Zimbabwe last week, he was arrested and is now being held in a maximum security prison. Part of his detention seems to revolve around the fact that he did not obtain Zimbabwe Republic Police clearance to hold his New York, USA protest. The arrogance of the Zimbabwe Police to assume they have the legal jurisdiction over the streets of New York is almost mind-boggling.
The advocates acting for Mawarire believe his arrest is unconstitutional. Watch the video as one of them speaks about his trial.
Pastor Mawarire - the voluntary martyr
Nobody in Zimbabwe is amazed and shocked that the ThisFlag Pastor has been arrested and unlawfully charged. Least of all, one assumes, Evan Mawarire, who well knows the way the Mugabe Regime works. He returned knowing full well that these events would probably unfold exactly the way they have. It was his choice to return and place his head in the mouth of the lion - and the lion has bitten him. Now Zimbabwe has a martyr in prison and the repressed and oppressed opposition activists for change once again have a rally point. One has to ask when the government of Zimbabwe will realize that if they let him have his say and quietly ignored him, that all the hoopla would die away? Instead, there are influential people all across the world with their eyes on the Judicial system of Zimbabwe. His arrest has already been condemned by the Human Rights Foundation.