REUNITED with his family in South Africa, Evan Mawarire, 39, the part-time pastor of a small, informal Harare congregation, and architect of Zimbabwe’s fast-growing social media protest site, #This Flag, says he is not going back home.
And that his family, his wife and two daughters arrived from Zimbabwe late last week and he is now prepared to say on record that he is too nervous to return just yet.
He launched his #This Flag campaign, with a video of himself, draped in the national flag, lamenting that the government had betrayed the flag with its corruption, late payment of civil service salaries and failure to provide cash at the banks.
But he attributed the success of the stayaway not just to his tweets, but on a convergence of factors, including a riot at the Beit Bridge border post over a ban on some imports from South Africa, a strike by minibus drivers, and then a strike by teachers, nurses and doctors about not being paid.
“So it was a perfect storm for a stayaway and my calls contributed.”
He called for a second stayaway the following week which was largely ignored.
Mawarire earns his living as a master of ceremonies and marriage guidance counsellor, but says his business in Zimbabwe has, like so many, collapsed. He says he is not connected formally to any political party in Zimbabwe. – ANA