Published: 2016 May 22 07:35:08 (2154 Views)
A LITTLE known Harare clergyman and ex-child president Evan Mawarire has risen to be the face of cyber movement driven by Zimbabweans weary of corruption and poverty.


The pastor first came into the limelight after posting a video on Facebook lamenting Zimbabwe’s decay under President Robert Mugabe, stocking patriotic fever with a hashtag #ThisFlag on Twitter.


He caught the eye of one of Mugabe’s trusted propagandists Jonathan Moyo and it was clear one of Mugabe’s most vocal defenders was rattled.


Moyo tried a counter narrative with his own hashtag #OurFlag and even resorted to Zanu PF tested smear tactics of labelling Mawarire a regime change activist sponsored by the United States and European Union.


Information Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira resorted to a physical confrontation against Mawarire after an attempt to discredit him through an interview on his radio station, but only added fuel to the fire.


Mandiwanzira’s associate, Tafadzwa Musarara, who had been sent to do the demolition job on the ZiFM interview was embarrassed by angry Zimbabweans and before long, he had been forced to quit Facebook and Twitter in shame.


When he posted the video, Mawarire only had a few hundred followers on Twitter but last week they rose to 8 000


"My personal Facebook page cannot accept any more friends because I have reached 5 000 while the page has 11 000 followers and a reach of 133 000 people," he said.


His followers believe the campaign is a reminder of all things that have gone bad about Zimbabwe in the past 36 years and a clarion call for action.


But Moyo last week threw a tantrum against US ambassador Harry Thomas Jnr, accusing him of trying to push for regime change by showing support for #ThisFlag campaign.


Both Moyo and Mandiwanzira revealed that they knew Mawarire personally and they appeared surprised that he was determined to take the government head-on.


Mawarire revealed that he was a master of ceremonies at a wedding for Moyo’s daughter last year. He also interacted with some government officials as child president between 1993 and 1994.


"It is true, I served as child-president back then after having been elected child MP for Mashonaland West’s Hurungwe constituency," he said.


"Moyo is correct to say I was master of ceremonies at his daughter’s wedding.


"However, he did not know me. I had been hired by his daughter and in turn he had hired two other master of ceremonies and they paid me like any other professional.


"I work as a professional master of ceremony at all sorts of functions, including corporate([ones)."


He said Mandiwanzira was lying that he once pestered him as he sought access to Mugabe. The minister also accused the pastor of being ungrateful after he donated chairs to his church.


"As for Mandiwanzira, we went to the same church and that is how we got to know each other. I never asked him to facilitate the so-called handshake with the president," Mawarire said.


"After we started our own church, he called me and asked if we wanted chairs he had pulled out of one of his cinemas in Avondale and I accepted.

"That is the only interaction I had with him until the fracas on Monday (last week).


"I have never benefitted from any association with those close to or in power and I would want to challenge anyone who has evidence to the contrary to come forward."


President Mugabe recently hinted that his government would try to regulate the use of the internet using technology from China. He claimed that some Zimbabweans were abusing the internet.

- The Standard

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