#ThisFlag leader Mawarire arrested for ‘praying with students’ at protest

Zimbabwean pastor, Evan Mawarire, has reportedly been arrested at a protest supporting striking University of Zimbabwe medical students. 

Two days after the 36th anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence from white minority rule, Zimbabwean pastor and motivational speaker Evan Mawarire shared a video expressing his feelings towards his home country – and inadvertently started an online movement.

In May 2017, just over a year since he became a public figure, Pastor Evan Mawarire stood accused of subversion and “insulting the national flag of Zimbabwe”. Mawarire, who founded the #ThisFlag social movement, has previously argued that it is President Robert Mugabe’s government that is guilty of bringing the flag into disrepute.

‘Done nothing wrong’
“Why have I been arrested? I’ve done nothing wrong. I encouraged them and we prayed. So I’ve been arrested for praying with students.”

Earlier, Mawarire posted videos of himself on campus addressing dozens of students who shouted and cheered and held up placards.

Mawarire told the students that the recent hike of fees from around $700 per semester to $1500 was “an injustice”.


‘Fees must fall’
“It is an assault on the future of our nation and we as the protecters and owners of that future – we cannot allow it to carry on. So these fees must definitely fall.”

In a statement circulated on social media, University of Zimbabwe Registrar Sergeant Chevo claimed that the students had thrown stones. He called it “behaviour that the University of Zimbabwe cannot tolerate.”

Ordered off campus
All medical students were ordered to leave the campus by lunchtime on Monday, Chevo added.

In the statement, Chevo said that medical students pay $450 for a 15-week semester, and third year students $900 for a 30-week semester.

He said the students could apply for payment plans.

Mawarire is already facing charges of trying to subvert the government over his online activism. His trial is due to begin at the Harare High Court in September. 

This story will be updated when more information becomes available.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members
Advertising

Press Releases

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday