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Pastor Evan Mawarire

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Pastor
Evan
Evan Mawarire
Pastor Evan
Church His Generation Church
Province Harare
Personal details
Birth name Evan Mawarire
Born (1977-03-07) March 7, 1977 (age 40)
Nationality Zimbabwean
Denomination Christian
Residence Harare, Zimbabwe
Spouse Samantha Mawarire
Children 2 daughters
Occupation
  • Motivational Speaker
  • Activist
  • Religious Leader
  • Author


Pastor Evan (full name Evan Mawarire) is a Zimbabwean religious leader, Motivational Speaker, author and leader of the This Flag Movement. In April 2016 he posted a video on Facebook with the title ThisFlag which went viral spurring the start of the #ThisFlag hashtag online. He would be later arrested early July 2016 after successfully calling for a national 'Stay Away' dubbed 'Shut Down Zimbabwe'. Police summoned him to the Police station thereafter and on presenting himself he was arrested and taken to court the next day, however, the Magistrate threw out the case citing Constitutional violations.

Background

Evan Mawarire was born on March 7, 1977. He is married to Samantha Mawarire and they have two daughters.

Education

He did his secondary education at Prince Edward High School in Harare. Mawarire is a qualified auto electrician from the Harare Institute of Technology.[1] Mawarire served as child president between 1993 and 1994 after having been elected child MP for Mashonaland West Province’s Hurungwe constituency.[2]

Career

Whilst based in London England, he was the regional director for Celebration Ministries International responsible for Europe and the Asia Pacific Rim from 2007 to 2010. In 2011 he was chosen as one of Zimbabwe’s 10 Outstanding Young People by the Junior Chamber International for moral leadership.[3] As a public speaker and Master of Ceremonies he was the master of ceremonies at the wedding of politician Jonathan Moyo's daughter in 2015. Commenting on the issue Mawarire said
"Moyo is correct to say I was master of ceremonies at his daughter’s wedding. However, he did not know me. I had been hired by his daughter and in turn he had hired two other master of ceremonies and they paid me like any other professional. I work as a professional master of ceremony at all sorts of functions, including corporate."
[2]

ThisFlag Campaign

On 20 April 2016, Pastor Evan posted a video on Facebook titled This Flag in which he decried the state of the economy and how he felt Zimbabwe was not delivering its promises to its citizens. The video went viral on Facebook (where it got more than 100,000 views) and WhatsApp. Video below:

This flag
This beautiful flag
They tell that the Green is for the vegetation and for the crops
I don't see any crops in my country
Hanzi the Yellow is for all the minerals, 
Goridhe, diamond, platinum, chrome
I don't know how much of it is left 
I don't know who they sold it to and how much they got for it
The Red, they say that is the blood
The blood that was shed to secure freedom for me
And I'm so thankful for that
I just don't know that if they were here
They that shed their blood 
And saw the way that the country is
That they wouldn't demand that their blood be brought back

This flag

They tell me that the black is for the majority
People like me
And yet for some reason I don't feel like I am a part of it
I look at it sometimes and I wonder
Is this a story of my future 
Or is just a reminder of a sad past
Wherever I go and I put on the colours of Zimbabwe 
They look at me and as if they want to laugh they ask 
'Are you from Zimbabwe?'
Vachiseka

And sometimes when I look at the flag
It's not a reminder of my pride and inspiration
It feels as if I just want to belong to another country

This flag

And so I must look at it again with courage 
And try to remind myself that it is my country
I look at the Green and think to myself 
It is not just vegetation 
But the green represents the power of being able to push through soil
To push past limitations and flourish and grow
That's me
My flag

The Yellow yes is about the minerals 
But not just the minerals that are in the ground
But the minerals above it
You, me 
We are the minerals 
We are the value of this land

The Red,
Yes, it's blood
But not just blood 
It's passionate blood
It is the will survive
It is the resolve to carry on
It is the want to push through to see the dreams come to pass

This flag

And the Black 
The Black is the night sky
That which we emerge from and we shine
It is the brilliant colours
It is the wonderful and lovely fruition of everythinig that we have ever hoped for
It needs a black for it to be visible

This flag

It is my country, 
My Zimbabwe
We go through so much
We don't look like much even now but there is promise in it
I will fight for it
I will live for it and I will stand for it

This is the time
That a change must happen
Quit standing on the sidelines and watching this flag fly
And wishing for a future that you are not at all wanting to get involved in
This flag
Everyday that it flies it's begging for you to get involved
It's begging for you to say something
It's begging for you to cry out
And say why must we be in the situation that we are in

This flag
It's your flag
It's my flag

This flag.

After watching the video, Zimbabweans from around the world started posting selfies with the flag on Twitter and Facebook. Following the overwhelming response, Mawarire started challenge that he called the ThisFlag Challenge. He would post a video to Facebook updating Zimbabweans on activities being carried, flag donations he was getting and the progress of the movement

Follow up videos

Response from politicians

Jonathan-Moyo-on-This-Flag.jpg
In response to the campaign, Zanu-PF politician Jonathan Moyo said
The fad or thing is not Zim but your political stunt which has nothing to do with the flag. Politics. Handei tione![4]

Death Threats

Mawarire said that after the posting of the initial #ThisFlag video, he received death threats via telephone, with one caller threatening to strangle him with the Zimbabwean flag:

You think you are clever? The flag you are holding can be used to strangle you. Are you a politician, an activist or pastor? Come clean and tell us where you really stand so that we can fight you on the correct turf.[5]
Mawarire said he was living in fear after the threats.

Summoning by the police

Citizen Alert.jpg
On 11 July 2016, Mawarire posted a video on his Facebook page confirming that he had been summoned by the Criminal Investigations Department. He also encouraged Zimbabweans to take part in a stay away that was scheduled for Wednesday 13 July 2016 and Thursday 15 July 2016 since the government had not responded to the ultimatum they had given for them to deal with issues such as corruption, poverty and police brutality. Mawarire also said that he would hand himself to the police for questioning on Tuesday 12 July 2016.

Arrest

Mawarire was arrested when he handed himself over to the police for questioning on the morning of Tuesday 12 July 2016. He was charged with Section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 for "inciting public violence and disturbing peace". The announcement was made via a pre-recorded video that Mawarire himself recorded so it could be released if he got arrested or abducted.

Trial and Verdict

Mawarire appeared before a Magistrate on Wednesday 13 July 2016. One hundred lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights offered to represent him. There were delays to the commencement of the trial as the investigating officer left the affidavit at Harare Police Station and had to go back for it. Mawarire was also brought to court but was returned to the police station amid fears that the crowd that had come to support him would turn violent. He was secretly brought back in a white corolla with tinted windows. The trial which was scheduled to start at 11am eventually started at 2:15pm. On the day of the trial the charges were changed from "inciting public violence and disturbing peace" to subverting a constitutionally elected government. His lawyer Harrison Nkomo cited unprofessionalism and ambush by the State. The State opposed bail and advised Mawarire to approach the High Court since his case had become a 3rd schedule one. Mawarire appeared in court with the Zimbabwean flag on his shoulders. Mawarire's case was dismissed by the Magistrate presiding over the case as it was a violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.


People from all racial backgrounds and social standing, especially those from the church came to show support for the cleric during his trial. Popular figures such as Tehn Diamond, Takesure Zamar Ncube, Tudor Bismark, Shingi Munyeza, Nelson Chamisa and Jestina Mukoko were part of the crowd. Prayers were made for the Pastor and religious songs were sang through out the court proceedings. There was also heavy police presence amid fears that violence would break out but people were encouraged to desist from violence in respect of what Mawarire advocated for. When Mawarire was released the gallery broke into song singing a church hymn of thanking God. Here's the video of the court room:


After his release Mawarire addressed and thanked the crowd that had come in solidarity and reminded them that they should not tire as they were building a country for their children. Thousands shouted "Pastor! Pastor! Pastor!" as Mawarire's vehicle drove off. You can watch the video of him addressing the crowd below:

He then left the country to go visit South Africa where he was heralded by different TV stations such as ANN7 and CNBC Africa seeking to know his plans about his campaign and the state of his safety due to recent events in his life.Read more.[2]

Despite all the rumours he continues to urge the #This flag movement to spread to all cities in Zimbawe with great anticipation that prayer meetings to save the country shall be undertaken by churches.[3]

Undenge Must Go Petition

500
On 13 June 2016, Mawarire invited disgruntled citizens to sign an online petition to force Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge to step down over allegations of mishandling public funds through tender irregularities. In a Facebook post Mawarire said,
"Download ‪#‎UndengeMustGo‬ petition form here. Get your friends and family to sign it, scan it and email it back to [email protected]"
[6]

Meeting with RBZ Governor

In June 2016, Mawarire together with other citizens, met with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya concerning bond notes. Mawarire gave the opening remarks at the meeting and reiterated that the citizens of Zimbabwe did not want the bond notes.

6 July Stay Away

On 6 July, he successfully organised a national stay away with the majority of working Zimbabweans, formal and informal, around the country heeding his call to stay away from work in a bid to make government respond to pleas for better governance. Mawarire called for people to stay away from work peacefully and to not engage in any violence. The stay away was however marred by some acts of violence especially in Bulawayo where vehicles and some government property (the section of a abandoned train) were burnt. Demonstrators also burnt tyres on the roads.

After the stay away, Mawarire announced that he was asking Zimbabweans to heed his call for a further 2 day stay away from Wednesday 13 July to Thursday, 14 July 2016. On 12 July, a day before the second stay away, Mawarire was arrested and charged with Section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and reform) Act Chapter 9:23. for "inciting public violence and disturbing peace".

Message To Urge Support To The Head Of Tajamuka

Pastor Evan shared his concern on social media after encouraging the support of activist Linda Masarira who is facing trial for inciting public violence after the July 6 Stay Away"

[4]

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References

  1. Elsa Buchanan, Zimbabwe: Who is Pastor Evan Mawarire, the man behind #ThisFlag subversive protest movement?, International Business Times, published: July 8, 2016, retrieved: July 12, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 Richard Chidza, #ThisFlag protest rattles under-fire Mugabe henchmen, Standard, published: May 22, 2016, retrieved: July 14, 2016
  3. HIS LIBIDO - UNDERSTANDING YOUR "BOO'S" SEXUALITY, Phenomenal Woman Roundtable, published: October 29, 2015, retrieved: July 12, 2016
  4. Jonathan Moyo [1], Twitter, Published:8 May 2016, Retrieved:9 May 2016
  5. Richard Chidza, ‘Flag protest’ pastor receives death threats, NewsDay, Published:6 May 2016, Retrieved:9 May 2016
  6. , Evan Mawarire, Undenge Petition Post, Facebook, published: June 13, 2016, retrieved: June 22, 2016