WATCH: Zim pastor Evan Mawarire throws hat into crunch election

Pastor Evan Mawarire. (File: AFP)
Pastor Evan Mawarire. (File: AFP)

Zimbabwean cleric Evan Mawarire has joined the race in this year's crunch election in the southern African country. 

The #ThisFlag leader announced on his Twitter page that he would be contesting for a Harare council seat as an independent candidate.

See Tweet below

Mawarire said “just sitting” around and waiting for change was not enough.

“I am running for council in the upcoming 2018 elections. We cannot change anything by standing on the sidelines and hoping change will happen on its own. Change starts on the ground,” he said.

The charismatic pastor is running under a coalition of individuals calling themselves People’s Own Voice (Povo) and  is vying for Harare’s ward 17 council seat, according to a NewsDay report.

Mawarire rose to prominence after he posted a video calling on people to revolt against former president Robert Mugabe’s regime.

He became the face of anti-Mugabe demonstrations last year and has recently told AFP that Zimbabwe's legacy of ballot rigging and political repression would take time to shed.

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Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a long-standing Mugabe ally, has vowed that elections due by July will be credible and promised to honour the legacy of opposition stalwart Morgan Tsvangirai, who died in February after a battle with cancer.

However, Mawarire cautioned that while Mnangagwa has been sending the right messages on the economy since the military installed him as Mugabe's replacement last year, the new president's stand on fundamental human rights was unknown.

"The message that has been top of his agenda is that Zimbabwe is open for business," Mawarire said, noting Mnangagwa's speech to global financial elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year.

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