Zimbabwe pastor who took on Mugabe online urges reform

Johannesburg - A Zimbabwean pastor who is using social media to take on President Robert Mugabe's government says he hopes his countrymen can peacefully achieve reform in the southern African country.

Evan Mawarire, 39, told The Associated Press that Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is destroying itself.

Mawarire is currently in neighbouring South Africa after launching a social media campaign, #ThisFlag, which has seen Zimbabweans wave and wear their flag as a sign of protest against the Mugabe government. Over the weekend, protesters waved flags and sang the national anthem at a cricket match against New Zealand in Bulawayo.

Mawarire said he is not seeking to become a political leader who unseats Mugabe. "In terms of me being the person, I don't know," he said. "I want to make sure that I exhaust my role as a citizen leader as best as I can, so that we leave our generation in a position to be able to move forward."

Mawarire left Zimbabwe after being arrested and briefly spending time in a cell last month. He said he had not been in touch with opposition parties in the country, nor with a group of war veterans who have strongly criticised Mugabe after being some of his closest loyalists for decades.

Mawarire's campaign comes as Zimbabwe's economy is collapsing amid a cash shortage that has prevented the government from paying nurses, doctors, teachers and police. Last month, people across the country staged the largest anti-government strike in nearly a decade.

Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980 and is the world's oldest head of state at 92, has responded by saying that people who aren't happy should leave the country.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
72% - 7145 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
28% - 2796 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.82
+1.5%
Rand - Pound
21.07
+1.1%
Rand - Euro
17.91
+1.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.24
+1.4%
Rand - Yen
0.14
+1.8%
Gold
1,770.94
-0.6%
Silver
22.35
+0.1%
Palladium
1,738.50
-0.4%
Platinum
942.00
+0.6%
Brent Crude
68.87
-0.5%
Top 40
64,517
-0.4%
All Share
70,952
-0.4%
Resource 10
67,238
-0.9%
Industrial 25
93,754
-0.3%
Financial 15
13,926
+0.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE