Harare (New Zimbabwe) – PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe must guarantee the security of the now self-exiled pro-democracy campaigner Pastor Evan Mawarire to enable him to return to his family in Zimbabwe, an activist Bishop has said.
Mawarire, who has inspired recent protests against the government with his #ThisFlag social media campaign left Zimbabwe for South Africa after he was arrested for allegedly inciting public violence.
Mugabe has twice threatened the pastor since, expressly ordering him to leave the country.
However, Bishop Ancelimo Magaya of Zimbabwe Divine Destiny (ZDD) said Mawarire “deserves to be in the country with his family”.
“My appeal to President and his Cabinet is to guarantee Pastor Evans Mawarire’s security. This is his home and he is a citizen of this country. His family is here; his relatives are here,” Bishop Magaya told reporters in Harare last week.
“We demand that he (Mawarire) be here and his security be guaranteed. I would want to encourage Pastor Mawarire to brace it and be bold a bit and return home. God is on his side and the Church is on his side.
“We are the people, the church and we are at the centre of our historical development to define a new era and new ethos. Zimbabwe and the church will never be the same again.”
Mugabe threatened Mawarire while addressing mourners at the Heroes Acre last month and demanded that clerics stop interfering in local politics.
However, Bishop Magaya said: “As Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, we condemn such utterances from the highest office in the land and would want to remind the President that the church is alive and evident in every sphere of human life including politics.
“We do not think he (Mugabe) is serious by saying the church has nothing to say with regard to politics because it is the church’s duty and God given mandate to speak, advice and even admonish leaders when they stray from the essence of the Oath which they swear to when assuming office.”
Bishop Magaya also castigated Mugabe for attacking war veterans who have also demanded his resignation.
“How right are you Mr President to think all the different sections of the society, non-related ideologically, tell you that you have missed the mark and yet, you vilify and arrest and denounce everyone?”
Mugabe has lately come under increasing pressure as Zimbabweans take to the streets to express their anger over the country’s deepening economic problems.
The veteran leader, now 92, appears to have been especially shaken after war veterans also turned on him and demanded that he steps down.