Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Zimbabwean #ThisFlag activist Evan Mawarire arrested at Harare airport

The Zimbabwean pastor who led protests last year against President Robert Mugabe’s authoritarian government was arrested at Harare airport on Wednesday as he returned to the country after several months abroad.

Evan Mawarire “was escorted into another room by three men even before he went through immigration or customs”, his sister Telda Mawarire said.

Last year, Mawarire emerged as leader of the #ThisFlag protest movement that quickly grew into the largest demonstration against Mugabe in several years.

The pastor fled to South Africa in July and then to the United States in fear for his life after being publicly denounced by Mugabe, whose ruthless security forces crushed the protest movement.

Mawarire was also detained last July for allegedly trying to overthrow the state, but a court dropped charges against him, triggering rare celebrations on the streets of Harare.

The national flag became a symbol of anti-government protests after Mawarire, a  pastor, posted a Facebook video last April in which he appeared with the flag around his neck as he bemoaned the country’s worsening economic crisis. 

The cash-strapped government has struggled to pay civil servants and the military on time as the economy has suffered a severe meltdown with more than 90% unemployment.

The 92-year-old president, who is increasingly fragile, has vowed to stand for re-election in 2018, though ZANU-PF party seniors have long been jockeying to step into the role when he dies.- AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Tourism industry hopeful of UK red list review

Meeting between scientists of both countries may pave way for removal from red list

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

Tourism industry hopeful of UK red list review

Meeting between scientists of both countries may pave way for removal from red list

Triple murder in Khayelitsha investigated by police

Three young women have been shot dead execution-style in one of Cape Town’s gang-riddled communities

Q&A Sessions: Kagiso Rabada — ‘When I retire, I will...

Kagiso Rabada talks to Eyaaz Matwadia about his love for music and production, how the lockdown affected him, and how he hopes to get back to his best

State to subpoena and fact-check Agrizzi’s ‘illness’ claims

The National Prosecuting Authority will conduct its own probe into Angelo Agrizzi’s claims of ill health, after he failed to attend court again

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…