A pastor at the heart of a protest movement against President Robert Mugabe has demanded that the United Nations (UN) intervenes in Zimbabwe to avert another “stolen election.”
Evan Mawarire — whose #ThisFlag movement led the biggest anti-government rallies in a decade in 2016 — said Mugabe’s election-stealing antics have been documented throughout Zimbabwe and beyond.
“I am 40 years old, I had never been a politician. The one thing I know, I have watched election after election, the ones that have been rigged, the ones that have been lost controversially,” Mawarire told the ninth annual meeting of the Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway last week.
“I have watched those things happen and I have always yearned can the regional powers come to our rescue, can the continent come to our rescue, can the United Nations come to our rescue, but sometimes there is so much going on in the world there is no one to listen to your trouble. Zimbabwe is entering a season of change,” he said.
He called on the UN to implement relevant council resolutions over the Zimbabwe crisis.
Mugabe, 93, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, was endorsed by his ruling Zanu PF party last December to run in next year’s presidential election, his last allowed under a Constitution passed in 2013.
“It’s part of what shames us as Zimbabweans,” Mawarire said.
“Someone said this to me ‘Robert Mugabe was Mandela before Mandela was Mandela’. But somehow something went wrong.
“Today he is 93-years-old and has declared that next year he will be running for president and it’s a blot on him as a leader that he has failed to groom a successor…failed to take responsibility…failed to run Zimbabwe better than he received it…it troubles many Zimbabweans because we are trying to dream a new future,” he said.
“But we can’t because this past keeps holding on to us. And that’s what this young generation…represents with our courage that says we are not afraid of you anymore, we are more afraid of our children 20 years from now asking us why did we not do anything.”
Mawarire, who faces a 20-year sentence for charges that include attempting to subvert the government and inciting public violence, said: “The State continues to say they are not ready to prosecute, so continue to push my case forward.
“I have to report to the police regularly. I am followed by (State) security agents …my passport has been seized and I only have access to it when I apply to the High Court stating exactly where I am going.
“I want to take this moment to thank my parents, baba and amai Mawarire because they allowed me to use the title deeds to the only home my family has as surety for my return to Zimbabwe after I am done here.”