Chaos as Zimbos rally for Mawarire

HARARE - There was pandemonium when hundreds of ordinary Zimbabweans, church leaders, pro-democracy activists and businesspeople swamped the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday in support of prominent clergyman and #ThisFlag campaign leader, Pastor Evan Mawarire, who was arrested by authorities on Tuesday.

Mawarire was released late last night when the court ruled that the fresh charges which had been pressed by the State were in violation of the Constitution.

Magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe told the State to proceed by way of summons if it wanted to bring Mawarire to court.

The unprecedented show of anger against President Robert Mugabe’s under-fire government prompted a shocked Zanu PF bigwig to remark that authorities may have erred by throwing “both the hammer and the kitchen sink” at the popular Baptist preacher.

“It’s not looking pretty my brother, and while no one is above the law, including church leaders, I now have second thoughts about whether this will not in fact fuel the fire as Mawarire is now being seen as the little guy who is being hard done by the government. Some people are even holding him up as a martyr,” the official told the Daily News.

The overwhelming support for Mawarire, which disrupted court proceedings until late last night, came as the State had failed in its bid to press new charges which would have seen the preacher facing a 20-year jail term if he was convicted.

As early as 8:00 am, the usually quiet Rotten Row Magistrates’ Courts were teeming with angry Zimbabweans who had descended there to support Mawarire, a prominent player in recent protests against the deepening rot in the country.

The big crowd led to a delay in proceedings, as intelligence operatives and anti-riot police worked out ways of ensuring that there would not be any crowd trouble when Mawarire appeared in court.

This saw the pastor being taken back to the police cells, before he re-appeared two hours later — ostensibly to fool the gathered crowds and media contingent who were all angling to secure their spots in court.

Church leaders took the opportunity to lead prayers on the entrance to the courts, as civic leaders and ordinary Zimbabweans sang revolutionary songs. Also unprecedented, was the presence of lawyers numbering close to 100 at the court.


Scores of people thronged the Harare Magistrates' Courts in solidarity with Mawarire.

“The demographic and racial character of the swelling crowd of Zimbabweans showing solidarity with Pastor Evan Mawarire of #‎ThisFlag at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts is humbling and gives a sense that something huge could happen in Zimbabwe.

“These young women and men are telling a bigger story that the authorities are well advised to take heed of. Now, Freedom Square is swelling with private cars. Most interestingly as well, the regime’s confrontation with the church is misguided and could be very catastrophic moving ahead,” the director of local think-tank, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI), Pedzisai Ruhanya, said.

Pro-democracy activists also told the Daily News that despite Mawarire’s incarceration, there was “no going back on the people’s demands” which included the immediate resignation of Mugabe and his Cabinet ministers, whom they accuse of looting and ruining the country.

“The response of the State is what is likely to incite violence. So far, we have not seen any violence incited by social movements in the past few weeks as people have protested against misgovernance, corruption and the brutality of the police.

“We would expect the state to first look at what is making the people so angry. It is also amazing how quick they are to mobilise themselves to counter-attack citizens by beating people up, but cannot respond to the needs of the people.

“People are hungry and drink dirty water if they have access to it, but there is no quick reaction there. This in itself is what will incite violence,” the executive director of Transparency International, Mary-Jane Ncube, said.

Ncube was speaking as Mugabe’s administration has ratcheted up its crackdown against leaders of social groups suspected of organising strikes and protests, which Zanu PF claims are sponsored by western governments.

Two weeks ago, riots erupted in the border town of Beitbridge when small traders protested against a government imports ban on South African basic goods, before the disturbances spread to Harare where touts and commuter omnibus drivers clashed with police over extortion at roadblocks.

“We will stand as citizens as long as we are hungry. We shall demand to have all these issues corrected. We have a poster at court speaking out against corruption, but how many ministers have been brought to court for corruption yet those are the things Mawarire is talking about.

“His (Mawarire’s) plight is to take us out of poverty. I work with girls who suffer every day because of poverty. Girls are entering into marriages while still teenagers because of poverty.

“Kids are also getting married young, failing to go to school and sleeping on empty stomachs. These are the issues that Mawarire is complaining about,” the director of Girls Legacy, Judith Dembetembe-Chiyangwa, said.

The spokesperson of pressure group Tajamuka/Sesijikile, Promise Mkwananzi, said Mugabe and his governing Zanu PF were clueless about solving Zimbabwe’s myriad problems. Their use of thuggish and intimidatory tactics would also not stop protests.


Mawarire addresses the crowd following his release.

“Mawarire’s arrest exposes the government’s suppression of people’s views and cries against the ongoing suffering. It shows that the government does not have any alternative but to intimidate and criminalise legitimate citizens who are expressing themselves. More people will come out in solidarity with Mawarire,” he told the Daily News.

Firebrand MDC secretary for recruitment, Job Sikhala, appealed to the international community to intervene as he also warned that the government had increased its violations of human rights.

“The people of Zimbabwe are now speaking and I do not think that these arrests will stop the people. When they abducted Itai Dzamara they thought that they had cowed the people of Zimbabwe, but more Dzamaras erupted.

“The intensification of the people’s fight for democracy in this country cannot be stopped. This will intensify and escalate and we urge them to take heed of calls for action that bring change.

“Zimbabweans are speaking openly about where they want the country to go. Unfortunately, the system is inciting violence against the citizens and they are arresting people who are agitating for social justice and constitutionalism in the country.

“We are calling upon Zanu PF to stop inciting citizens of Zimbabwe into violence. They must allow those calling for peaceful demonstrations to do so as it is their constitutional right and we cannot continue allowing this to happen.

“It is the endgame now. I cannot see how Zanu PF can continue to control the current anger among the citizens,” Sikhala — the former St Mary’s MP — said.

Rights groups also warned that using “knee-jerk tactics” as the government was doing to stop protests was counter-productive.

“The State has failed to realise that it is not the mainstream organisations that are organising these things, but the ordinary citizens. A different force has come in and it is not going to be stopped by anyone,” said ZimRights executive director, Okay Machisa.

“Zanu PF has been shaken to the very core by the recent wave of popular discontent against the regime. The alteration of the criminal charges against ... Mawarire is a clear sign that the regime is now in panic mode.

“They want to charge the pastor with an apparently more serious offence in order to spread shock and awe amongst the generality of the Zimbabwean populace,” MDC spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said.

Comments (32)

there was pandemonium when a crowd of over 150 000 people thronged zimbabwe grounds to welcome back robert mugabe in 1980,that compared to a rented crowd which opposition leaning analsyt have with utmost magnamity put at 5000 clearly shows that the masses are with the president and the elites,also notice the sizeable number of whiteys is backing the western embassies bankrolled pastor,taskes with formenting chaos by our sworn enemies and former colonisers

truth - 14 July 2016

haaaa tibvire apo truth mukosho wamai

muzvindapanyo - 14 July 2016

People of all backgrounds rallied in support of the Pastor, a true Zimbo who loves the country and its flag. Chinamasa is in France right now, begging from those hated whities who are supposed to be formenting trouble in our Zim. @truth, I can only surmise that you live on another planet.

Dunlop Munjanja - 14 July 2016

Magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe also needs to be strongly applauded for his very brave stand for bucking the system and doing what is morally right. Imagine the flak he is now taking behind closed doors for daring to release this national hero protester? We must not forget to recognize and praise civil servants who have the courage to act responsibly and fairly.

Mbewa - 14 July 2016

Hear what another idiot who is still stuck in imaginary memories of the 1980s is saying. Mr Truth in 1980 people supported Mugabe because we thought he was on the masses side. Now we no longer support him because he is oppressing the masses that gave him the powers.

Ziziharinanyanga - 14 July 2016

Truthless - urikungohumana, nezve maNumbers ekuma 1980, iwe waive mumaDiapir. Tibvire kumhepo.

ZimVendorisedNation - 14 July 2016

Truthless - urikungohumana, nezve maNumbers ekuma 1980, iwe waive mumaDiapir. Tibvire kumhepo.

ZimVendorisedNation - 14 July 2016

56 years old, with a Safari suit after a brutal war 150,000 will voluntarily come to see you. 92 years old, a battered economy and broken dreams only morons and cheats will cheer you.

Mazano Rewayi - 14 July 2016

Poverty and hardship has raveged the former pro-zanu judiciary system to an extent that the judges can no longer pander to rhobhati's oppressive whims! Chikwekwe just saw it plainly that his & the court's time was being wasted by zanu on unfound & baseless allegations of hate in the name of a missing helmet & button stick! these are the signs of an impending change just like the bible said 'mambokadzi uchabuda munaIjipita uye Itiopia uchapa chipo kuna Mambo' everyone is now awake and can see the thievery of the zanu system, including mutsvangwa chaiye! regai tione,

SaManyika Chaiye - 14 July 2016

This is not 1980. Time has moved and this lot of backward thugs is coming to an end.

katu moloi - 14 July 2016

People power.

Trish - 14 July 2016

Tuvana Truth who are very economic with the truth, you still think thios is 1980, continue living in the past because you are on the gravy train but your time of reckoning is to hand. Its unbelievable that with the country burning as it is with no money, the fossil continues to waste resources by going to a useless AU meeting. Thank God the month is coming to an end and the civil service including soldiers and police have to paid . Makeke chaiwo. Like his friend Truthless, Mugabe also lives in the past.

Rudi - 14 July 2016

Truth uri mu CIO. Mhata yamai vako.

wanga - 14 July 2016

Still quoting Job Sikhala, uku ndiko kupererwa zvino. You can not equate Mugabe's homecoming to the 1000 people at the trial. The problem with people who thrive on negativity you try to prop up people who are going nowhere. What country supports imports that destroy its own economy. It is high time people woke up. Evan is going nowhere and you know it Mr Editor. It is only the overzealous police officers who arrested him who sought of propped him. If the MDC could not close their offices, and business was as usual, what was happening at the court was just a bunch of people whiling up time. Some pastors were even there, but who says God was there? You may want the demise of ZANU(PF), but kana nguva yaMwari isati yakwana, we are wasting our time. If Zaimbabwe is made up of 100o people that were at the court, then even Mbare Musika can be a republic on its own.

L. Makombe - 14 July 2016

@L. Makombe,thank yu for your refreshing insight,we thank the @dailynews for this platform as it has exposed that those masquarading as democrats are actually intolerant of other views,that they will use all obscenities against me becoz they same constitution that they claim to uphold aslso gives the same rights to those who differ from them,is this the zimbabwe we arte to exoect after the departure of RG,were opposing views are trashed,anybody who has been in politics and held a reasonable position in the opposition knows thats its foreign funded,thats fact,and another fact is that a big pay cheque awaits pastor mawarire ,with some accolodes and cash incentives,only the naive think this is about bread and butter issues,the zimbabwe of intolerance ,hate will only come with the mdc and some twitter pastors because they think that only their opinions are gospel truth

truth - 14 July 2016

Varume mese ngatipei vamugabe madays ekuti wa set his house inorder at list 5days dzekuti waresigne/wabude pa sate house we no long need him there.....5days only 5days zvekuti kwai tomirara term ipere ndikokupenga kwachoka ikoku haausimutemoba kuti munhu apedze term.......ndokupusa kwacho ikoko vanoda kupedza term yei vachiitei.....ndakamboti last time kana mugabe achida kuti arambe ari pa state house mari yese yakashanda ngaidzore iwe yestate zvoso macompany ese oitwa ezimbabwe,,,zvese votengesera nyika mcedice car benz iyoyo ngaapark,,,tomutengera ka nissan sun....convoy no more wongofambawo sevamwe wose...everything like other people mazuva ese achienda kubasa kwake kumunhumutapa achibata time.......zvese izvi unomuzwa avekuchema chema.....imi vanhu musatende kushandiswa nemudhara akapusa uyu basa racho rambai.....zvese rambai our true president is poor like us same as us.......munomuchengeta kudaro muchengetei ndiye ega anoziwa chii.i chaanoziwa...zim has abour20 millions zim and more than 1million are better or better mentally than him its true i tell you people....he has oeverstayed his welcome....musasamuchengeta leave him leave that job.....be principled hapana kana mukadi hamuchadi do no associate yourselve with this man muchizvideredzera pasi kudaro ko ok akadakupedza term yake ko mari yekutambirisa ma civil servant ichavanika kupi....ko maindustries achavhura riini etc akadakupedza term yacho....zvekupedza term hazvina basa ndokupusa--kuoma musoro kwacho...5days he must vacate zvichakanaka .

dofo - 14 July 2016

Ichi chimunhu chinonzi Truth chirikutaura zvekuma 1980 about support yaMugabe iri outdated chimu Agent cheku CIO chisina basa rekuita. All he does is kuswera kunanzva pupu yamuMugabe. You have no place in a future new free Zimbabwe my friend. Brain dzako dzakawora dzine makonye anonanaira

Tich - 14 July 2016

@viola gwena,tete have yu sold out or yu have now been rehabilitated?

mash east - 15 July 2016

@L. Madamombe. Also answer the question what country promotes corruption to the levels being done by our ruling part. Don't just dwell on import bans. In any case, if imports are bad, why do we have predominantly South African and Chinese products in Choppies of your Vice Prersident, who by the way have been in a hotel presidential suite since 2014, in his own country? Fuel costs around $28 per barrel, yet in Zimbabwe it still cost $1.30, same price as it was when the fuels cost was $120 to $150 per barrel. Because of the Zanu PF ethanol guy, which is only 10% anyway. Parirenyatwa looted $100,000 from PSMAS, and so did Charamba. Supa Mandiwanzira looted $200,000 from Parastatals to import a vehicle yet we assemble cars at Quest and Willowvale. Zimoco is also there. Airport road in Harare started at $10 million but ballooned to $100 million. Who took the difference, what dramatically changed to warrant a 10 fold price change? The list goes on and on. Have your party ever bothered to find out what policies South Africa and China are putting in place to streamline their production costs to have a wheel barrow (which our party used as reason to ban imports) land at our border at $1.80, after having been transported all the way from China? through corruption, government took all the companies from fuel stations to minim and ran them down. Now they are after personalizing importation of cheap things through "licensing" themselves. And you don't see anything wrong with all this? All you see is people protesting about import bans, yet they are forced into the vending/cross border trading by your party? Have you no common sense? have you no shame at all?

XG - 15 July 2016

@L. Makombe. Also answer the question what country promotes corruption to the levels being done by our ruling part. Don't just dwell on import bans. In any case, if imports are bad, why do we have predominantly South African and Chinese products in Choppies of your Vice Prersident, who by the way have been in a hotel presidential suite since 2014, in his own country? Fuel costs around $28 per barrel, yet in Zimbabwe it still cost $1.30, same price as it was when the fuels cost was $120 to $150 per barrel. Because of the Zanu PF ethanol guy, which is only 10% anyway. Parirenyatwa looted $100,000 from PSMAS, and so did Charamba. Supa Mandiwanzira looted $200,000 from Parastatals to import a vehicle yet we assemble cars at Quest and Willowvale. Zimoco is also there. Airport road in Harare started at $10 million but ballooned to $100 million. Who took the difference, what dramatically changed to warrant a 10 fold price change? The list goes on and on. Have your party ever bothered to find out what policies South Africa and China are putting in place to streamline their production costs to have a wheel barrow (which our party used as reason to ban imports) land at our border at $1.80, after having been transported all the way from China? through corruption, government took all the companies from fuel stations to minim and ran them down. Now they are after personalizing importation of cheap things through "licensing" themselves. And you don't see anything wrong with all this? All you see is people protesting about import bans, yet they are forced into the vending/cross border trading by your party? Have you no common sense? have you no shame at all?

XG - 15 July 2016

truth mwana we rape.

Madhebhura - 15 July 2016

@Masheast. Why do yu say that,mhanduwe.im not too sure what yu mean wokwawo.

viola gwena - 15 July 2016

Truth is just employed to comment, the man likes fiction.

Demo - 15 July 2016

i strongly support Truth and Madamombe and THIER LINE OF reasoning. Seriously tinga hukure hedu kuti this and that but the fact of the matter is that our country is under siege. Imagine running a country without your own currency and paying workers with USA dollar. Tinoritenga nei guys even if a new government come in as you are demanding which in this case will be the military junta they will still be in the same situation. I say bring back the ZIM DOLLAR AND AS A NATION WE ACCEPT IT AND RESTART THE FORMULAR. #BRING BACK THEZIMDOLLAR WITH THE BALANCING ROCKS ON IT. Officially the #bringbackthezimdollar

trevor - 15 July 2016

#bringbackthezimdollar.

trevor - 15 July 2016

@truth, madamombe and trevor you do understand that there are certain fundamentals that need to be in place to bring back the zim dollar. It has to be backed by something of value (Gono made sure that hatina that and am sure nothing is being done about that) ini as long as there is a backing bring it back if not well that means we are not yet ready for it. President RG Mugabe was a darling back in the old days only to be a not so popular coz nzara yapinda mumba. He is now too old and the people around him not beneficial to him coz they just care for themselves. Unfortunately matakadya kare haanyadzi Zimbabwe. we are fighting a new war of hunger as we speak with the people in power ignorant to the situation on ground if any one voices against them they have to be supported by the west other wise zimbos are too daft to think on their own. God help this nation

critic - 15 July 2016

@truth, madamombe and trevor you do understand that there are certain fundamentals that need to be in place to bring back the zim dollar. It has to be backed by something of value (Gono made sure that hatina that and am sure nothing is being done about that) ini as long as there is a backing bring it back if not well that means we are not yet ready for it. President RG Mugabe was a darling back in the old days only to be a not so popular coz nzara yapinda mumba. He is now too old and the people around him not beneficial to him coz they just care for themselves. Unfortunately matakadya kare haanyadzi Zimbabwe. we are fighting a new war of hunger as we speak with the people in power ignorant to the situation on ground if any one voices against them they have to be supported by the west other wise zimbos are too daft to think on their own. God help this nation

critic - 15 July 2016

It time for Mugabe to quit. His leadership has not been useful for the last 10 years , thus destroying future generations, the beneficiaries are the people sorrounding him , they are now stealing millions as the power comes to an end

mwana wa - 15 July 2016

@truth what an idiot! if u don't hve anything intelligent to say shut up! only 10% of the nation is employed wosimudza maromo epasi nepamusoro uchitaura zvakapata kudaro

proudzimbo - 15 July 2016

#This Flag, truth and L makombe musatanyoko tichakufiritayi semakonzo patikubvisa zanu apa muchapfidza revenge yacho yakaoma

mukanya - 16 July 2016

truthless- msathanyoko, unoita sewakazvarwa mai vaenda kunoroya mgodoyi. if zanu z paying you enjoy your bloody money don't make noise for us, duzvi remunhu!

jo - 21 July 2016

truthless- msathanyoko, unoita sewakazvarwa mai vaenda kunoroya mgodoyi. if zanu z paying you enjoy your bloody money don't make noise for us, duzvi remunhu!

jo - 21 July 2016

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