No going back on demos: Pastor Mawarire

HARARE - Unbowed clergyman and leader of the #ThisFlag campaign, Pastor Evan Mawarire — who has been leading a peaceful campaign against Zimbabwe’s deepening rot — says he will call for more protests until President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF listen to the cries of the people.

Speaking in an interview with a South African television news station, the much-harassed Baptist preacher said despite the growing vitriol that was being directed at him and other pro-democracy activists by panicking authorities, abandoning the struggle was not an option.

Mawarire spoke as former Zanu PF stalwart and intelligence minister, Didymus Mutasa — now a senior official in former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) — told the Daily News yesterday that long-suffering Zimbabweans should abandon their fear if they hoped to bring leadership change in the country and improve their lot.

At the same time, an angry Mugabe savaged Mawarire and other like-minded activist clergymen when he addressed thousands of bussed-in Zanu PF supporters and government workers who gathered at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare yesterday, at the burial of the late retired top civil servant, Charles Utete.


Mawarire addresses the crowd, which had gathered outside the court in solidarity, following his release. 

Mawarire, who is taking a breather in South Africa after escaping the thuggish legal tactics of the government on a technicality last week, said not even the worst police brutality would stop the wave of protests being mounted by fed up Zimbabweans, until all the issues fanning public anger were addressed.

“We cannot back down from this space ever again and our goal now is to go further and further into becoming citizens that speak more and more. I think the future plans for the (#ThisFlag) movement are found in the seeds of the movement and the seeds were to create citizens that are bolder.

“In Zimbabwe over the years, we have been afraid to speak for various reasons, among them being the intimidation, and of course the brutality that we have experienced for many years”.

“We are trying to get our government to realise that the citizens have needs and the reality on the ground is not something that we are just dreaming up ... so part of our goal is ... just to change things,” he said.

Mawarire also commended the work of fearless pressure group Tajamuka/Sesjikile, which had also been at the forefront of leading campaigns against the government, as well as the stunningly successful general strike of three weeks ago which paralysed the country.

After being arrested early last week on charges of inciting public violence, charges later upgraded to more serious ones when he arrived at court — sparking unprecedented anger among Zimbabweans who swamped the court in solidarity with the popular cleric — Mawarire was later set free on Wednesday.

Had he been convicted, he could have faced a 20-year prison term.

Commenting on claims by the rattled authorities that he had taken off for the United States of America after his close shave with the law, the #ThisFlag campaign leader said this was simply malicious gossip.

“I’m absolutely not running away from home. This (trip to South Africa) was a scheduled visit. I travel to South Africa often and to other parts of the world, and those who know me know that I travel. There is nothing to run away from because I have not committed a crime.

“Everyone knows the government has their way of getting rid of people like me and it does not matter whether I am a government spy or a western ally but the important thing is the government should address the crisis in Zimbabwe.

“It is true that my life is in danger but the bottom line is that I am just a citizen and I don’t have a budget for security and my safety is within the citizens because these are the people that keep me safe, stand for me and fight for me,” Mawarire said.

And as Mugabe was attacking Mawarire at Utete’s burial, his long time confidante and erstwhile friend, Didymus Mutasa, was encouraging people to abandon their fear in their pursuit for change.

“Demonstrations are part of our Constitution. We are protected by the Constitution and we hope those in authority will observe the law. We have got to do everything that is possible and when you want to climb a mountain do not be scared of the slopes. You must climb. And as you climb you may go down one step backward but that is part and parcel of climbing a mountain,” Mutasa told the Daily News after meeting opposition political parties in Harare.



“We have agreed that the current crisis is a national crisis ... we want to make sure that the move to solve the current crisis will be peaceful and those who are in authority should not be harsh and beat people like what they are doing now,” he said.

The comments by Mutasa, who was secretary for administration in Zanu PF before his expulsion in the run up to the party’s hotly disputed December 2014 congress, come as the ruling party faces its biggest challenge in its 36 years in power.

The broke government is, in addition to facing growing citizen unrest, struggling to pay its huge civil service on time, as the country has run out of cash in the face of the dying economy.

By late yesterday, it was still not clear when soldiers would get their July pay. But Mugabe skirted the issue of civil servants’ salaries yesterday, choosing to attack Mawarire instead, whom he accused of being funded by the West in his campaigns.

Mawarire helped to organise arguably the biggest general strike in the history of the country when millions of Zimbabweans heeded his call to stay away from work.

Four days before the strike, riots had 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.

Comments (23)

The one thing that RGM is good at is eliminating opponents who have a GOOD chance of giving him the boot. The only person who has challenged RGM and survived is Morgan and although Mawarire is the man of the moment, he should sit down with Morgan and get survival tactics. The situation is bad for RGM and he knows if he blinks he will have to flee the country so Mawarire should assume the worst- he faces elimination if he comes back to Zim.

Jairosi - 20 July 2016

Saka mabond notes ari kuuya zvaekare here? Gono odzokazve neinflation yake . Amanaaaa h ah ah Zimbabwe yandiramba inini. Asi Mugabe takamuwana kupi chaizvo . Masimba ake anobva pai chaizvo anoputira nepfungwa dzedu dzose kudai . Murudzii munhu uyu. Chipoko , mweya , munhu wenyama kana kutii kwacho . Hameno

Sokisi - 20 July 2016

stop grandstanding pastor,the people of this country can see that yu are merely an agent of the whiteman,be careful as yu might incur the wrath of the masses as we are all solidly behind the president,only the middle class and the rich subscribe to your ideas

truth - 20 July 2016

Kusungwa kamwe wotopumhuka wa Joni hahahahaha this guy matoto chaiwo . Iyowo imbwa yepamusoro inozviti truth inofunga munhu wese aita criticise hurumende i agent yevarungu. Musangonyore zvinoita expose hudofo hwenyu va Truth. zidofo remunhu. Hurumende iyi yakabviro shanja kare kwazvi hazvidi kuva murungu kuti uuone

moredreck maeresera - 20 July 2016

Kusungwa kamwe wotopumhuka wa Joni hahahahaha this guy matoto chaiwo . Iyowo imbwa yepamusoro inozviti truth inofunga munhu wese aita criticise hurumende i agent yevarungu. Musangonyore zvinoita expose hudofo hwenyu va Truth. zidofo remunhu. Hurumende iyi yakabviro shanja kare kwazvi hazvidi kuva murungu kuti uuone

Chibatamaosi - 20 July 2016

@TRUTH uri zibenzi remunhu iwe ndiwe agent of the whiteman. who is solidly behind the president zvitaurire wakazvimiririra cz ini handisi... GATEAWAY MHANI... you are the person akutidzorera kumashure cz you the one vanonoisa X pacorruption,poverty apa family yako ichitambura nenzara nonsense unondinyangadza... if you dont have anything better to say you better shut up and not say anything at all ... #tajamuka

enough - 20 July 2016

Of the 2,viola. truth, I prefer Viola.

chaka - 20 July 2016

Pastor Mawarire stands out above the rest simply because everyone knows that he is genuine opposition and not someone with strings still attached to Mugabe and his CIO. Compare, for instance the difference in Mugabe's approach to Pastor Mawarire and Joice? Any real opposition is immediately arrested, beaten and thrown behind bars and if they still don't shut up they get eliminated in much the same fashion as what happened to Itai Dzamara and Solomon. Yet other supposed opposition members can say what they want against Mugabe, even be accused of passing information to Eric Little of the US Embassy and plotting to overthrow the President, yet somehow escape any form of real intimmidation and harassment? So just by observing Mugabe's reaction to someone it is now easy to pick out who is or isn't real - not so?

Mbewa - 20 July 2016

you zimbo's are cowards whats taking you long to oust these pigs

jugdementday - 20 July 2016

@jugementday you are very right zimbos are taking too too long

Revelations - 20 July 2016

Pastor mauya mushe imimi.....naro naro...mugabe must step down now we need a transational leader to craft all democratic reforms outstanding....eg electronic voters roll etc......we need a new leader ...musatererera kana mugabe akati anoda kupedza term yake its a total no no...we waite for his term tichiiteiko...tchidyei....tichishanda kupi.....ikozvino hapasisina mari....toita sei......Iam saying it again....kana mugabe achida kupedzisa term yake ....tell him he likes no pay/salary for him as from now until his term expire...also no convoy of soldiers and security personnel for him...he must not use that zim 1 Benz he has to buy a toyota colora car....all those expensive gudgets for him he must surrender noo going out of country when he is sick..3\4 of his wealth must must surrender to the state coffers.....he must survive like others his fellow zimbabwean and all his kids must school in zimbabwe.....kana akaramba zvese izvi arikuda kutishandisa so must step down now we do not need him any more iam always saying is about 1 millions zimbabweans who are qualified for that job of zimbabwe president....he is not special we need that post......tell him we do not need him for longer than a munite

DOFO - 20 July 2016

Pastor mauya mushe imimi.....naro naro...mugabe must step down now we need a transational leader to craft all democratic reforms outstanding....eg electronic voters roll etc......we need a new leader ...musatererera kana mugabe akati anoda kupedza term yake its a total no no...we waite for his term tichiiteiko...tchidyei....tichishanda kupi.....ikozvino hapasisina mari....toita sei......Iam saying it again....kana mugabe achida kupedzisa term yake ....tell him he likes no pay/salary for him as from now until his term expire...also no convoy of soldiers and security personnel for him...he must not use that zim 1 Benz he has to buy a toyota colora car....all those expensive gudgets for him he must surrender noo going out of country when he is sick..3\4 of his wealth must must surrender to the state coffers.....he must survive like others his fellow zimbabwean and all his kids must school in zimbabwe.....kana akaramba zvese izvi arikuda kutishandisa so must step down now we do not need him any more iam always saying is about 1 millions zimbabweans who are qualified for that job of zimbabwe president....he is not special we need that post......tell him we do not need him for longer than a munite

DOFO - 20 July 2016

Pastor mauya mushe imimi.....naro naro...mugabe must step down now we need a transational leader to craft all democratic reforms outstanding....eg electronic voters roll etc......we need a new leader ...musatererera kana mugabe akati anoda kupedza term yake its a total no no...we waite for his term tichiiteiko...tchidyei....tichishanda kupi.....ikozvino hapasisina mari....toita sei......Iam saying it again....kana mugabe achida kupedzisa term yake ....tell him he likes no pay/salary for him as from now until his term expire...also no convoy of soldiers and security personnel for him...he must not use that zim 1 Benz he has to buy a toyota colora car....all those expensive gudgets for him he must surrender noo going out of country when he is sick..3\4 of his wealth must must surrender to the state coffers.....he must survive like others his fellow zimbabwean and all his kids must school in zimbabwe.....kana akaramba zvese izvi arikuda kutishandisa so must step down now we do not need him any more iam always saying is about 1 millions zimbabweans who are qualified for that job of zimbabwe president....he is not special we need that post......tell him we do not need him for longer than a munite

dofo - 20 July 2016

@judgementday. u are the one who is a coward .you cant just come from nowhere and spit your disgusting irritating comments and expect to get away with it. we are Zimbabweans-rightly so, we allowed to handle our own affairs without interference or pressure from a second filth part like you .we are fighting our own war the list u can do is to shut your mouth. #TAJAMUKA ,HATICHADE

murambatsvina - 21 July 2016

See what Zanu youths were saying yesterday. This shows us that this is a party of thugs. They did their demo and no one disturbed them, but they want to disturb other groups demos. But one thing they should surely know is that this economy is definately going down and all those hungry faces they hoodwicked and bussed are not in support of ZANU but just fearful faces. President vedu vanonyadzisa, kutomira munhu wa President kutaura kuti Mawarire ngaabude munyika, WHY?, becasue he has challenged the government because of corruption and mismanagement. SHAME TO THE PRESIDENT, THAT SHOWS A SMALL MIND MR PRESIDENT. Deal with the issues being raised, instead of telling us what governement is doing to revive the economy, a sane president talks about Mawarire. MAPERERWA, MAJAIRA KUURAYA VANHU, ZVINO ZVIMOENDA IKOKO MUCHANDOSANGANA NAVO VESE VAMAKUURAYA

Hondo - 21 July 2016

There are people who are very miserable especially in their jobs where they have to see mirages where there is nothing.Such people like @ truth who are so brainwashed that they see ghosts everywhere.Let me point it to you Mr truth: 1. If your IQ is very low, do not think that everybody else is like you.You must stop insulting zimbabweans to think that they cannot see for themselves. If he is an agent of the whiteman, who is better him or you who is an agent of an oppressive blackman who is bringing nothing to our tables except poverty,insults and all sorts of names?2. Stop speaking about masses because you are not the masses yourself.Speak on your own behalf.If you are paid to make lives of other people miserable, then enjoy your loot because you are better off for now.Never think the status quo will remain as it is until eternity.

Tahir Iqbal - 21 July 2016

@ truth you are very sick in the mind, government should address issues but since they have failed they should just step down...starting with RG

Rukangarabwe - 21 July 2016

iIt is far from the truth that he is either a man of god or that the demonstation was peaceful. many received messages stating that their businesses, cars and homes would be burnt if they attempted to work. no where in any bible does it refer to this kind of threat/ terrorism or behaviour. he is truly an advocate of the devil.

infairness - 21 July 2016

please dont legitimise @truth by responding to his posts, just ignore him, akatoratidza kudhara kuti he is part of the system we are fighting to get rid of, the minority

bharanzimarangwanda - 21 July 2016

@ infairness,I just don't understands you zanunoids who want to define words in your own contexts.How do you define terrorism?If people are raising issues with the govt is there anything wrong?You have been in the comfort zone for too long where you have just been treating people like trash.Never think everyone is as brainwashed as you are.If your boss has messed up tell him to change things, you will never see people going to the streets.As for the devil's advocate, i think it's you guys who are perpetrating an evil system who are devil incarnate.

Tahir Iqbal - 21 July 2016

Do not react to people like Truth.He is obviously from CIO trying to bait people. Mutasa can not talk- where was he the last 36 years- eating from the trough.Ignore him and everything he stands for- IT IS A PLOT TO DE STABLIZE OPPOSITION. Mutasa is responsible for deaths and beatings and marginalising and driving them to poverty people in his home area of Mayo/ Headlands.

Fooled - 22 July 2016

Anyone who has been a minister in the Mugabe government can not be trusted. They are corrupt and rotten to the core, including Joyce Muguru, Mutasa, Mavaire, Bhasikiti et al. They have been feeding on the trough and only became vociferous whet n they were booted out by Robert Mugabe. Pastor Mawarire has more credibility than Mutasa who wants us to believe he is now siding with the downtrodden Zimbabweans. Mutasa should not be given the platform to tell us what he failed to do when he was in government. He is a very selfish and self-serving man, never to be trusted.

Chimbwido Warvet - 23 July 2016

Guys to be open-minded,we actually dont need marchin and demos,as we started this years ago with the final push failing and of-course this Evan fame seeking.I think if we just have an up-rising like the Arab spring thats the only way-out.Ko iyo fear zvayo yatiinayo yatakaiswa neka mdara aka vakomana.Hongu anouraya tinozviziva asi ko tikatanga kuita ma-bombings muma police-stations zvinoramba here?Nekuti mapurisa akatumwa-ende vese vanoda kushanda se Traffic cops so that they can suck blood out of a stone.I respect groups like I.S and really i at times contemplate suicide bombing

farai chafesuka - 25 July 2016

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